Venture Capital: Playco Wins Unicorn Status At Series A

September 22, 2020 | News, Venture Capital
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The mobile gaming startup, founded by ex-Zynga veteran Justin Waldron, raised $100 million.

Playco pulled off a unicorn valuation with the company still on the drawing board. It raised $100 million in a Series A round led by technology investor Josh Buckley and Sequoia Capital Global Entities. Will Smith’s investment firm Dreamers VC, venture firms Sozo Ventures, Caffeinated Capital, the Makers Fund, the Angel Fund, and Digital Garage also participated. (The Wrap)

Tokyo-based Playco has been started by Game Closure co-founder Michael Carter and Zynga co-founder Justin Waldron. Game producers Takeshi Otsuka and Teddy Cross are also on board.

Their vision for mobile gaming: no clunky and cumbersome downloads. Instead, it’s back to old-world simplicity with Playco’s titles being “instant play” and available via hyperlinks over a wide variety of platforms.

Bottom line: The games can be played by any two or more people in the world together. Even if neither player has previously installed the game. They will work on social platforms that include gaming, such as Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) or Snapchat (NYSE: SNAP).

A “post-app store” world

The web-based instant games, which could reach billions of players, would perhaps break the shackles that bind developers to app stores such as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL).

Playco co-founder Carter said in a statement: “We think that games shouldn’t be trapped inside installed apps or downloads. Instead, we believe that playing together should be as easy as messaging or talking together… We believe there is a game for everyone and that how we play together is a crucial part of how humans socialize.”

Co-founder Waldron added that though the mission sounds simple, it’s only possible because Playco created “the world’s most advanced web browser streaming game engine, with the backend infrastructure and analytics to handle billions of players.”

How Playco will make money

The start-up’s business model is to create fun games for huge audiences playing for free. Thereafter, to offer them in-game purchases and opt-in advertising.

Playco’s working model is “distributed-first” with both founders and executives working in scattered locations such as Seoul, Tokyo, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. It will hire anywhere in the world.

Related Story:  Andreessen Horowitz’s Thesis – “Multiplayer Game Experiences are the Next Social Networks”

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