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|The core team of Sky Mavis|
As a play-to-earn game, Axie Infinity uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to reward players. The company was founded by Vietnamese young entrepreneurs Nguyen Hoang Trung and Doan Minh Tu.
"The game's growth is a phenomenal testament to how deeply this model is resonating with people around the world," said Arianna Simpson, general partner at a16z, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. "The Axie team has triggered an earthquake in gaming and the industry is now forever changed."
The announcement comes a day after The Information revealed that Sky Mavis is raising around $150 million in Series B funding at a valuation near $3 billion.
Accel and Paradigm also participated in the round, Sky Mavis stated.
Although Sky Mavis is legally based in Singapore, the majority of its core team is Vietnamese. Sky Mavis CEO is Nguyen Thanh Trung, born in 1992, who was the former co-founder and CTO of Lozi.
"We are very proud to say that we are a Vietnamese company, even though Sky Mavis is legally headquartered in Singapore," Trung said.
Local media believed Sky Mavis has become the third unicorn of Vietnam, after VNG and VNLIFE.
The new funding is slated to help Sky Mavis expand its team, scale infrastructure, and build its distribution platform to support game developers to create blockchain-enabled games.
"We are on a mission to create economic freedom for gamers and are making this happen by turning players into owners of in-game assets unlike the traditional model where publishers, distribution platforms, and game developers retain control and benefit the most," said Sky Mavis CEO Trung Nguyen.
"The game's growth is a phenomenal testament to how deeply this model is resonating with people around the world," said Arianna Simpson, general partner at a16z. "The Axie team has triggered an earthquake in gaming and the industry is now forever changed."
“We built Axie Infinity and grew it to be the No.1 blockchain game. It’s now time to make it one of the biggest virtual worlds of all time, period. More and more game developers are becoming interested in using blockchain technology to empower their players. This is a massive opportunity that we’re best positioned to capture with our Ronin side chain – a tool that allows game developers to deliver the benefits of blockchain to their players without any of the complications,” Sky Mavis noted on its website.
In May, Sky Mavis raised $7.5 million in a Series A funding round. That round’s lead investor was Libertus Capital, and other investors included Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the Collaborative Fund, and 500 Startups Vietnam.
In 2019, Axie Infinity raised $1.5 million in a seed funding round that was led by mobile game publisher Animoca Brands.