It’s been about 40 years since Yat Siu got into the technology space.
But just eight years ago, Siu co-founded Animoca Brands, a prolific software and VC company that has invested in over 220 portfolios across blockchain gaming, NFTs, decentralized finance and the metaverse, among other sectors, he told TechCrunch. In January, the company raised $360 million, valuing it at $5.4 billion.
But Siu wasn’t always in the crypto scene. He grew up in Vienna studying classical music against his own wishes but would use an Atari computer to utilize composition software, he said. It was then that he began immersing himself in tech — all before he even had a bank account.
In the early 1990s, he moved to Hong Kong and “built a few companies,” then went into the mobile gaming sector in the early 2010s. In 2017, he was struck with the NFT bug and “went all in” to the space when CryptoKitties boomed in popularity.
At the time, the firm invested in OpenSea, which became the biggest NFT marketplace; Sky Mavis, the parent company to Axie Infinity; Decentraland, a decentralized metaverse; and acquired the company that would later be known as The Sandbox.
“We’re really an operator, building games, products and metaverse projects centered around true digital property rights, which is NFTs to us,” Siu said. “We invest in everything and we hope we can expand and grow the network effects of NFTs beyond games, because that’s the tip of the spear and what brings adoption now.”
Animoca Brands has grown into one of the biggest firms in the metaverse, play-to-earn gaming and NFT worlds, but Siu told TechCrunch there’s a new sector Animoca Brands wants to enter: education.
No, not education about crypto topics, but more general educational tooling that could apply to more than one discipline.
While the company will continue to grow and focus on blockchain gaming, Siu said it wants to expand into new segments and markets like education to drive mass blockchain adoption.