Gaming-focused UnCaged Studios raises $24M to build good crypto games

UnCaged Studios, a web3-focused gaming studio, has raised $24 million in a Series A equity funding round to continue growing the crypto gaming industry.

The raise includes investors from Griffin Gaming Partners, Vgames, Maverick Ventures Israel, Drive by DraftKings and 6th Man Ventures. The Series A follows a $4 million token presale for its Solana-focused game, MonkeyLeague. There was no valuation disclosed.

“We could’ve taken money from crypto funds, but it’s stronger to take it from the game industry and believers,” Raz Friedman, co-founder of UnCaged, said to TechCrunch. “We are a gaming company first that is utilizing and bringing web3 into games, rather than being a web3-first company.”

The gaming studio was co-founded by brothers Raz and Tal Friedman. Both of them previously worked at a publicly listed gaming company Playtika, but saw the current play-to-earn ecosystem as unsustainable.

“I’ve been watching the success of Axie Infinity and The Sandbox,” Tal said. “The success is already there, but the games that are made are not in the quality of where they should be…as people who have developed economies for games, we want to create communities and games that can be sustainable for years with the excitement and entertainment at the core of it.”

The capital will be used to continue developing the play-to-earn soccer game MonkeyLeague as well as creating future games and infrastructure for web3 games.

“For us, we believe every big company should start with one big hit,” Raz said. “Our focus now is to create an amazing game around MonkeyLeague profitable to the company so we’ll have the resources to grow our technology and content base.”

The second phase for UnCaged will be focusing on how to manage a good game in web3 while creating more games around play-to-earn concepts, Raz said.

“We’re already earning money, but [the funding is] a way to bring high production content…this entertainment is very expensive in team and talent,” Raz said.

In general, funding for the web3 gaming industry has been unfazed by crypto volatility as capital continues to flow into the space.

Last month, Immutable, an Australia-based web3 gaming firm, launched a $500 million developer and venture investment fund, Robbie Ferguson, president and co-founder of Immutable, told TechCrunch. More recently, crypto and entertainment gaming firm Cauldron raised $6.6 million last week to build the “Pixar of web3.”

“People in the traditional gaming industry will understand that [web3] is the next phase of games,” Tal said. “It’s not just about using cryptocurrencies in games, but making communities a part of the game itself. Web3 gives real power to gamers being partners and sharing revenues, which is a big change.”