Singapore, March 31, 2022 — Singapore-based GameFi blockchain startup Ethlas has announced it has raised another $6 million in an extended seed-funding round led by Dragonfly Capital, Makers Fund and Yield Guild Games Southeast Asia. 

This new infusion of seed funds followed an initial $2.7 million in seed funding, raised by Sequoia Capital India and a host of leading venture capital firms in February 2022, and the successful sale of all 8,337 units of its genesis “Komo” nonfungible token (NFT) series in mid-March. 

Ethlas will use the additional seed funds to turbo-charge hiring and new user acquisition. It plans to hire another 80 personnel in roles such as data science, product, design, game development and blockchain engineering to augment its current team of 20 that is based in Singapore, the Philippines and the United States.

At six months old and the largest game metaverse on the Polygon blockchain — with more than 310,000 gamers and more than 6.2 million gameplay sessions to date — Ethlas has continued to refine its product roadmap with a focus on sustainable user growth and economics. For one, it is working with game studios to onboard more games and progressively move away from casual games into an open-world game platform. The Ethlas Metaverse is envisaged as a community where gamers can explore new worlds with their personalized avatars, have fun and earn from gaming with their companion “Komo” NFTs. 

“Ethlas has demonstrated from its successful recent launch since seed funding that it can be a serious player in the Web3-gaming space. We have faith in the experienced founding team, as they have a well-defined product vision to democratize crypto access through games. We are delighted to back Ethlas with other eminent investors,” said Mia Deng, partner of Dragonfly Capital.

Ex-Grab Holdings tech leader to helm Ethlas

Ethlas has also announced the appointment of Wui Ngiap Foo as its new CEO. Wui was most recently head of technology at Grab Holdings, working in integrity, mobility engineering and in the Grab patent office. He’s joining three other co-founders — Elston Sam, Gennady “Ari“ Medvinsky and Henry Foo — who have all worked at Grab

Wui, who joined Grab in 2015, spearheaded Grab’s regional mobility super tech family and was pivotal in rolling out products such as JustGrab and GrabShare for the Southeast Asian market. He was also in charge of a wide spectrum of portfolios at Grab during his tenure, which included head of integrity, head of growth and Grab’s overall AI strategy. In his role as head of integrity, he grew a team of more than 400 trust and safety specialists to develop and strengthen the protection of Grab’s myriad products. Prior to joining Grab in 2015, Wui was one of the founding members of Google Asia Pacific’s trust and safety team.

“GameFi continues to grow, but the elephant in the room is that most platforms are surviving on an operating model of getting the players who come in later to subsidize the early adopters. This is not economically viable. While Web3 is relatively nascent and many founders and companies are trying to figure out how to maneuver in this space sustainably and economically, my co-founders and I have built and scaled marketplaces and platforms in our careers. I believe we can bring our experience and playbook in Web2 to the Web3 space. The backing of major venture capitals in our seed-funding rounds is a testament to their confidence in the Ethlas team and our vision,” said Wui.

Ethlas is a free-to-play, play-to-earn platform that differentiates itself from other GameFi competitors that typically charge onboarding subscription fees before one can start playing. To start playing the many simple-to-learn casual games on Ethlas, gamers only need to install MetaMask, a software crypto wallet or link their wallets, and they can start playing in the Ethlas Metaverse on a PC or mobile phone browser. There are no complicated onboarding rules or requirements to sign up with a hefty subscription fee. Built on the Polygon blockchain, Ethlas has chalked up more than 310,000 crypto-wallet users globally and 6.2 million gameplay sessions on its platform as of the end of March.