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Singapore-based game finance (GameFii) blockchain startup, Ethlas, announced on Feb. 15 that it has secured $2.7 million in seed funding from investors such as Sequoia Capital India, Yield Guild Games Southeast Asia, Global Blockchain Innovative Capital, Venturra Capital, Play It Forward DAO, Blockchain Space and executives from Grab, Coinbase and CoinMarketCap.
The hitherto stealth start-up has also unveiled the identities of two of its four founders: American Gennady ‘Ari’ Medvinsky and Singaporean Elston Sam, both of whom have worked in top tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Grab and Airbnb. The identities of the other two founders — one of whom is a very senior executive with a big tech firm — will be disclosed in due course.
The three-month-old Ethlas is the first GameFi startup founded in Singapore to have secured serious investor money, underlining the confidence that VCs have in this fledgling tech startup that first launched quietly in November 2021. Built on the Polygon blockchain, Ethlas has chalked up over 100,000 crypto-wallet users globally and scored some 3 million gameplays on its platform as of end-January 2022. The rapid scale that Ethlas used to achieve product-market fit has been one of the key reasons for its seed fundraising success.
“Komo” NFT minted
As part of its product roadmap, Ethlas will mint its first series of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) called Komos. Modelled after the Komodo Dragons of Indonesia, the Komo NFTs will benefit both free-to-play gamers and crypto natives. Free-to-play gamers can use the five tiers of the Komo NFT to boost their gameplay and secure more Exchange Genesis Ethlas Medium (XGEM), the in-game cryptocurrency in the Ethlas metaverse.
Crypto natives can benefit from the intrinsic value of a well-designed NFT that has in-game utility and facilitates scholarships (NFT rental). The Komo NFT series will be available before end-February 2022. Ethlas is also working with game studios to launch their games on their platform through a revenue-sharing model.
Moonshot vision of one billion users
Ethlas has built up a team of more than 20 blockchain engineers, game developers, data scientists, cybersecurity experts and designers based out of Singapore, the Philippines and the United States. The startup was founded in Singapore as the country has a good tech ecosystem that fosters and enables innovation, especially in crypto, and has good access to venture capital. It will leverage its seed funding to aggressively hire tech talent in the Web3 space.