Metafy lands $25M to scale its gaming coaching platform

Metafy, a startup that operates a marketplace for video game coaching, announced this morning that it has closed a $25 million Series A. Tiger Global and Seven Seven Six led the funding round.

This publication last covered Metafy in May 2021, when the company raised a $5.5 million extension to its preceding $3.15 million seed round.

Since that funding event, Metafy acquired rival games coaching platform GamersRdy, and the company said coaches using its service grossed over $1 million last year. Metafy doesn’t take a cut of coach income when they use its platform; it charges students a 5% fee.

Coached activities on the platform include well-known video game titles and things as far afield from Starcraft as poker and sports betting.

Metafy is a wager that the gaming market will continue to grow, retain its cultural cachet, and that titles popular in the niche will maintain high skill requirements — fodder for coaching demand. With video games becoming increasingly complex over time, and recent mega-dollar acquisitions of gaming studios announced by platform technology companies, the gamble appears to have supporting evidence.

The round

TechCrunch caught up with Metafy co-founder and CEO Josh Fabian to discuss the round, which he described as an early event for his company.

Per Fabian, his company had around half of the money it had raised previously in the bank when it put together its Series A. Why raise before it was a cash-led requirement? Fabian said that changing market conditions led him to secure capital ahead of what could become an investing “winter.”

TechCrunch has noted a rapid decline in the value of publicly traded technology companies and investigated what impact those devaluations may have on startup investment and valuations.

How the round came together is illustrative of the high-tempo fundraising environment of 2021. Fabian said that his first two fundraising events were “stressful and time-consuming.” Metafy’s Series A was different, he said. After speaking to what the CEO described as “household names” in the venture community, Forerunner Ventures introduced him to Tiger Global, which ran a fast, deep vet of his company. This included diligence into individuals from Fabian’s past, seven coaches on the Metafy platform and more. And it was a quick process to boot.

Fabian, rare in his candor among the startup CEO cohort, said that a quick term sheet from Tiger led to his company letting other investors he had spoken to know that Metafy had a deal that it was going to take. Then, Fabian said, other term sheets came rolling in. Thus, it appears that Tiger’s rapid dealmaking is still leaving traditional venture players in hurry-up mode.

Metafy intends to use its new capital for hiring, of course, and more acquisitions. It also demarcated $1 million toward a fund that it will invest over the next 18 to 24 months into competitive tournaments and other gaming-community events.

When TechCrunch covered Metafy’s second seed round, the company had scaled from $76,000 in monthly platform spend in April 2021 to $190,000 in September of last year, up 52% from the preceding month. We’ll be curious to see how quickly the startup can scale its platform GMV this year and whether it can keep up the double-digit month-on-month rates of expansion that it has historically garnered.