Andreessen Horowitz leads the $ 5 million round for Microsoft’s new veterinarian-led blockchain game startup

Rahul Sood.

A new Seattle startup led by a longtime entrepreneur Rahul Sood is combining a flurry of the latest technology trends – NFT, blockchain, machine learning, metaverse – into futuristic gaming experiences.

Irreverent workshops drew the attention of Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz, who just led a $ 5 million round and funded at least 50 cryptocurrency startups as part of a big bet on the emerging sector.

Other backers include Chainsmokers Mantis VC, a venture capital fund led by the music band Chainsmokers, as well as Seattle-based firms Unlock Venture Partners and Keen Crypto, a new cryptocurrency-focused fund founded by tech veteran Andy Sack. Advancit Capital, which backed MasterClass, Headspace and The Athletic, also invested.

Sood said it only took eight days to raise the money, a testament to his track record in the tech world, his vision for the new company, and enthusiasm for his technology.

Sood, an eSports betting startup previously co-founded Unikrn, that was acquired this year and led Microsoft Ventures. But he is very excited about the potential of Irreverent Labs.

“This is like the highlight of my career,” Sood said. “It’s everything I love wrapped up in a small project that I think will be a real success.”

The company plans to unveil its first game next month, but Sood offered some details in an interview with GeekWire last week.

The game is set in a metaverse, a vague concept touted by some as the next frontier for online interaction through computer-generated avatars, mixing the physical and digital worlds. Microsoft Other half have presented their visions related to the metaverse over the past month.

Sood said that users of the game will be able to “own” characters in this metaverse that can be bought and sold. non-fungible tokens, or unique digital assets – enter.

Those characters will be powered by artificial intelligence, so they can get smarter over time, Sood said. There will also be ways for users to earn currency while they play.

The idea takes inspiration from similar games like Zed run, the digital horse racing game which attracted attention earlier this year. In Zed, people own and run unique virtual horses referred to as “breathing NFTs” that can reproduce and have their own life. Sood was one of the first investors in the company behind Zed.

Similar to Zed Run, Irreverent’s game will also feature a reproductive aspect.

Irrverent Labs wants to ride the wave of interest in these types of play-to-ear games based on blockchain technology, but also lower the barrier to entry.

“Irrverent Labs’ first game is so delightfully quirky and simple to play, it’s easy to overlook the technical achievement of molding truly original NFT characters with advanced machine learning,” said Arianna Simpson, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz.

When asked about the business model, Sood didn’t reveal much, but said the company shaped the game’s first five years of the “economy”.

“[The investors] they invested very quickly because they saw the math behind it and the potential of what we’re building, and they believe it, ”Sood said.

The CEO didn’t say who else is working with him on Irrverent Labs, but the team has around 16 people, including other former Microsoft leaders.

Sood co-founded Unikrn in 2014 and transformed the company into a leading esports betting company that allows people to bet on video game matches. The startup has attracted investments from well-known investors including Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher. He also had legal problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sood helped launch Microsoft Ventures, the VC arm of the tech giant now called M12, and previously co-founded a gaming PC company acquired by HP.

Andreessen Horowitz, who bet early on Facebook, Lyft, Pinterest, Coinbase and other giants, announced a $ 2.2 billion fund focused on cryptocurrencies this summer. Interest in cryptocurrencies is peaking as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies hit record prices.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here