A New Seattle Startup Led by a Longtime Entrepreneur Rahul Sood The latest technological trends – NFTs, Blockchain, Machine Learning, Metaverse – are flooding the gaming experiences of the future.
Irreversible Labs attracted the attention of Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz, which just raised a $5 million round and funded at least 50 crypto startups As part of a larger bet on the emerging sector,
Other backers include Chainsmokers Mantis VC, a venture fund led by music band Chainsmokers, as well as Seattle firm Unlocked Venture Partners and Keen Crypto, a new crypto-focused fund founded by tech vet Andy Sack. Advanit Capital, which has backed Masterclass, Headspace and The Athletic, has also invested.
Sood said it took just eight days to raise the cash – a testament to his track record in the tech world, his vision for the new company and his enthusiasm for its technology.
Sood previously co-founded betting startup Unicorn, which was acquired this year, and headed up Microsoft Ventures. But he’s most excited about the potential of Irreverant Labs.
“It’s the highlight of my career,” Sood said. “It’s everything I love all wrapped up in one little project that I think is going to be a real success.”
The company plans to unveil its first game next month, but Sood offered few 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 and meta presented his own Metaverse-related visions over the past month.
Sood said users of the game will “own” characters in this metaverse that can be bought and sold. Right here NFT- non-fungible token, or unique digital asset – come in.
Sood said those characters will be powered by AI, so that they can get better over time. There will also be ways for users to earn currency while playing.
This idea takes inspiration from similar games like jade runDigital Horse Racing Game which attracted attention earlier this year, In Jade, people own and race unique virtual horses referred to as “Breathing NFTs” that can breed and have a life of their own. Sood was an early investor in the company behind Jade.
Similar to Zed Run, the game for Irreverent will also have a reproduction aspect.
Irreverant Labs wants to ride the wave of interest in this type of play-to-earn game built on blockchain technology but also lowering the barrier to entry.
Ariana Simpson, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said in a statement, “Irreverent Labs’ first game is so cool and simple to play, it’s easy to overlook the technical feat of shaping truly original NFT characters with advanced machine learning. “
When asked about the business model, Sood wouldn’t divulge much, but he said the company modeled the first five years of the game’s “economy”.
,[The investors] Invested very quickly because they saw the math behind it and the potential of what we are building, and they believe in it,” Sood said.
The CEO didn’t say who else is working with him on Irrevent Labs, but there are about 16 people on the team, including other former Microsoft leaders.
Sood co-founded Unikrn in 2014 and has grown the company into a leading esports betting company that lets people bet on video game matches. The startup attracted investment from celebrity investors including Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher. It also ran into legal trouble Securities and Exchange Commission.
Sood helped launch Microsoft Ventures, the tech giant’s VC arm now called M12, and co-founded the gaming PC company previously acquired by HP.
Andreessen Horowitz, who made early bets on Facebook, Lyft, Pinterest, Coinbase and other giants, announced A $2.2 billion crypto-focused fund this summer. As bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reach record prices, interest in crypto is picking up.