If you haven’t heard of Yat Siu, co-founder of $ 2.2 billion crypto reader Animoca Brands, you’ll soon be
So, what exactly is Animoca, the company that has positioned Yat Siu in the middle of the global NFT gaming world, estimated to be worth $ 179.6 billion by 2025?
Originally a games software company, Animoca has evolved into a funder of some of the hottest properties in the online world. It centers around games – worlds, currencies, and digital tokens or collectibles, commonly referred to as NFTs.
” It’s the future “
Siu seems to have chosen what awaited him: he co-founded Animoca as a group of games applications and now has over 100 investments.
Among his most successful investments are stakes in The Sandbox and its SAND token, Decentraland and Dapper Labs, the founder of CryptoKitties – a popular blockchain game focused on collecting cute creatures.
He also owns shares in AxieInfinity, the first site to complete over $ 1 billion in NFT transactions in which owners take a stake every time a creature is created or changes hands. Animoca’s holdings don’t end there – it also owns a range of NFT collectibles for brands like Bratz, FC Bayern Munich, and DeltaTime Formula 1.
Today, it is the diversity of holdings – holdings acquired while this sector was still in its infancy and short of liquidity – that makes the group’s value.
As of November 3, the Metaverse tokens, including The Sandbox’s SAND, REVV and GAMEE alone, were worth more than $ 12.2 billion, according to the company, although the value of holdings can fluctuate wildly. In less than a month, the SAND token has jumped over 600%, although it is not clear if he could realize it.
The company and various subsidiaries also hold stakes in token issuing companies.
“From 2018, some will say [we were] reckless … [but we said] it’s the future. No matter how we’re going to get there, we’re just going to get there. We traded a lot, we traded their cryptocurrency with our stock, ”Siu recalls, noting that the industry was so small back then that luck was as important as strategy.
“It was pretty easy to see who the smartest people in the room were, who cared about the mission,” he said, when asked how he identified the companies to partner with.
Animoca continues to invest and acquire. The strategy now is to acquire game studios such as Blowfish Studios, which it bought for $ 6.6 million in July because it believes it can help it grow using blockchain. He’s also been involved in recent increases in Australia, including backing the $ 40 million increase for listed game developer and publisher ASX and the $ 8 million increase for OliveX, which is listed on the Newcastle Stock Exchange.
But for Siu, there is another battle ahead: convincing the world that his view of the online world – the one he says is in direct opposition to the ambitions of Facebook and Microsoft – is the right one.
How Siu found the metaverse
Siu doesn’t really remember a time when the virtual and online world wasn’t as important – if not more – to him than the physical world.
In the 1980s, diligently pursuing classical music at the insistence of his musician parents, he was looking for a faster way to compose. So he wrote his own software, which he then installed on the pre-Internet shared server. It was a watershed moment in two ways: the checks arrived in the mail while people were using his software, and he made several friends online who didn’t care if he was around 10, of Chinese descent or many other things about it.
It also ultimately landed him his first job at Atari.
“The only thing that mattered was who I was virtually and online. And you know, when I walked into the office – in Vienna they had a one-man office – they were like, right? Because I was that Asian kid. And I still got the opportunity, ”he says of his first job out of high school.
He later moved to Hong Kong and started the city’s first internet service provider and then cheap cloud computing for which he received support from a local construction company.
In 2014, when he co-founded Animoca, Siu’s vision of the world was strengthened: he should be open to everyone.
In Web 3.0, he says, it’s no longer a zero-sum game. Siu sees a world where everyone can be successful in one way or another. He wants to “decentralize everything,” a vision that fuels the company’s preferred approach to being a minority investor in everything from games to metaversees to online worlds.
He quickly learned, he says, that big tech companies don’t play fair – Apple started Animoca from the App Store after the company realized that the rapid release of new apps and their cross promotion would guarantee them a higher ranking.
“We were in this really weird situation where we could try to call Apple, like Epic did, but we were a very small company. Or we could try to solve it… if effectively we practiced some form of self-censorship, because of fear. This is actually the world we live in today … it happens with Facebook, Twitter, everything, right?
“We saw NFTs and the ability to own some digital equity, and it all seemed right. It’s back in 2017. ”
“Strategic capital and influential money”
Aligning with powerful funders to put pressure on its worldview is one of the main reasons Animoca is constantly raising new capital. Siu says the business doesn’t need cash.
Rather, the increases aim to align him with what he calls “strategic capital” and later “influence money”. In other words, people who can help push its type of web 3.0. In its last fundraiser, Animoca received funds from companies such as Ubisoft Entertainment, which publishes and develops Assassin’s Creed, Sequoia China and Dragonfly Capital. Likewise, The Sandbox (majority owned by Animoca) in November raised US $ 93 million in a round led by SoftBank.
He also thinks that slowly the market is starting to recognize that NFTs, the Metaverse, and his vision for their future are real.
“A lot of people have criticized it as just a giant Ponzi scheme,” he says.
“You know, it’s just to pay us money. And the point is, if it’s a walled garden, which typical games are, it should be because the money that goes in can only be the money that can go out, right? But in an open economic system, we can innovate freely by creating new services, and this is not a Ponzi scheme because you can create new value, and therefore new services can be introduced, that’s what happens. past.
Animoca has not published accounts since 2020, despite more than 2,500 shareholders and its shares traded on PrimaryMarkets. The company told investors it was working on releasing the accounts soon, but gave no firm deadline.
Siu says the business – which generates income by taking a clip every time a digital asset is sold – doesn’t need capital. As NFT values increase and more people participate, this is a good result for Animoca’s undisclosed income line.
As for a stock market listing, Siu says that is not the main goal, although it could be considered as early as next year or possible the following year.
“It’s not the top priority for us. The top priority is really to keep building in space. Capital is not a problem for us, ”he says again.
But he admits the company has fallen behind in its communications with investors, a fact it is working to correct. In part, he says, it was difficult to recruit the right people after being struck off by ASX.
That stigma has diminished now, he says. “Today we are in a position where we can call on the best. We’re sorry it took so long.