Virtual goods in gaming have been around since the 2000s and typically they’ve provided some sort of hedonistic or functional benefit in games or some combination thereof. The emergence of MMO games provided the opportunity to transact in these gaming assets for the first time. The advent of gaming in Web3 and the incorporation of NFTs has opened up another market for heightened tangible value for these assets and transactions at scale, complete with immutable ownership and provenance rights. Souq G-Commerce is a portfolio management platform for gamers to track and monitor these gaming assets. The platform works across any blockchain or wallet and centralizes performance tracking of these sometimes-disparate digital assets while also providing health insights and market intelligence on individual gaming economies. The blockchain gaming industry grew 2000% in the last year alone, popularizing the play-to-earn model and Souq is positioning itself to be the resource to handle this burgeoning growth and market.
AlleyWatch caught up with Souq G-Commerce CEO JonPaul Vega to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Pre-seed, $3.3M; The round includes participation from Kickstart, IVC, Operate, Moon Holdings, Ellipti Ventures, Perpetual Value Partners, Himanshu Sahay & Partners, Sterling VC, Evernew Capital, BBQ Capital, Mike del Balso, Chris Chang, BlockØ, Aleph One, Gautam Shah, and Miko Matsumura.
Tell us about the product or service that Souq G-Commerce offers.
We are the financial markets focused on Web3 game economes, like Robinhood for video game assets. Our first product is a portfolio manager that helps players track and monitor the value of their game assets, along with the health of the game economies in which they participate.
What inspired the start of Souq G-Commerce?
We are lovers of video games, equities, economics, and crypto. This is a perfect intersection of our interests and we know the market well.
How is Souq G-Commerce different?
We are building a pathway for players to become shareholders of the games they love and participate in the economic upside of these virtual worlds.
What market does Souq G-Commerce target and how big is it?
We are focused on Web3 open economy games, it’s an emerging industry, there are about 10M active users, but it is growing and over the next 5-10 years many of the 4.5B gamers will play this new format of games.
What’s your business model?
We are an investment platform, we help holders deploy their assets to grow game economies and generate yield. Our business model is connecting digital assets to our platform, whether cryptocurrency or digital goods (NFTs), to run yield pools.
What are your post-COVID office plans?
NYC and MIA.
What was the funding process like?
Great time to be an entrepreneur, market conditions have changed but quality projects, teams, and founders can demand a premium as investors are looking for bets that will return multiples of their fund. Great opportunity to execute, stand out, and be recognized for that value.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Finding investors who believe in the founders to navigate the evolving crypto landscape. Vision is firm, but details tend to be flexible through the ebbs and flow of this nascent industry. Investors who recognize this is an adventure and can help you navigate are invaluable. Capital is cheap.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Today gamers spend $60 billion on digital goods they don’t own – this is a natural portable market to Web3 open economy games, globally gaming is a $180b industry and the largest form of entertainment. Souq enables players to engage with economic play, and surfaces a bet on the broader ecosystem while being insulated from any single game’s success or failure. It’s a very unique infrastructure layer type investment that actually holds onto the end user, those instances of businesses are rarer.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
- 50-100k active wallets
- 95% of games covered on our platform
- $100M worth of assets connected to our platform
- Blockchain agnostic support for ETH, L2s, Solana, Flow, Avalanche
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Pre funding: Validate your idea and market so you can have personal conviction in your view of where the world is going before you seek capital. Once you have a firm vision, seek like-minded angels that can help you refine this into a digestible story for seed investors, seek like-minded investors who agree with your view of the changing world but can challenge you refining the steps to get there.
Post funding: Identify what near-term milestones you can reach to justify a bridge round bringing your topping off runway to 24-30 months. If you are close to or over 24 months, slow spending, extend your runway, and focus only on the key milestones, usually a few will create 50%+ of the business value needed.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We will be the one-stop-shop for information about asset holdings, game economies, and investment opportunities. The Fidelity of virtual economies.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC?
Botinos Garden or 12 Chairs in Williamsburg.