Venly raises 21 million euros of capital. With the money, the Antwerp blockchain technology provider can further focus on the gaming and e-commerce sector.
Venly has well-known clients like the e-commerce platform Shopify and the virtual world The Sandbox, which makes full use of blockchain technology. Blockchains are computer networks in which, in principle, transactions are stored immutably. The technology is also being used for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), where the code on a blockchain uniquely references digital and sometimes physical objects. Those NFTs can be traded.
In a traditional game, it is difficult to allow players to exchange skins or avatars with each other. This is possible with blockchain and NFT.
Blockchain and NFT technology is new to many game developers or e-commerce platforms. “But it’s not feasible to send developers to school for another three years,” says CEO and co-founder Tim Dierckxsens. Venly solves the problem by providing the blockchain technology out of the box.
‘We are also changing the business models of those companies. In a traditional game, it is difficult to allow players to exchange skins or avatars with each other. This is possible with blockchain and NFT.
- Antwerp blockchain provider Venly raises €21 million in capital and is now valued at €110 million.
- The money will be used to hire specialists who can integrate the company’s technology into software platforms for game creators.
- Venly is counting on a significant increase in the use of its digital wallet system.
The problem is that not only developers but also many end users struggle with web3 technology. ‘Everything should be more in line with web2’s ease of use. And that is exactly what we focus on,” says Dierckxsens. “Our NFT marketplace is easier to use than any platform.”
The capital round is led by US-based Courtside Ventures. Other participants include Transcend Fund, Coinbase Ventures, Tioga Capital, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Fortino, Plug and Play, Leadblock Partners, Imec Istart, and Alpaca VC. Venly’s valuation after the capital increase amounts to 110 million euros.
Venly wants to integrate its technology into software that is widely used by game creators, such as Unity and the Unreal Engine. A specialized team is created for this task with fresh capital.
American venture capitalists can help Courtside Ventures and Transcend Fund build specialized teams. “Courtside understands very well what we are doing. He has a background in esports and the world of sports and knows how licensing works in those sectors.’
Venly now has around 32 employees, spread across 14 countries. There may be 90-100 by the end of this year. “We are still a remote company, which means everyone is working from home,” the CEO said. “However, there will be more weekdays where we will work together in coworking spaces.”
As a technology provider, Venly offers wallet systems, digital wallets where users can manage their NFTs and cryptocurrencies. Those wallets have more than 2.5 million users. In-game and e-commerce purchases that are technically supported by Venly end up in wallets.
Dierckxsens sees this increase exponentially. “There is a direct integration between the wallet and the market. This allows our wallet users to offer their digital assets directly on the market.” That’s a different approach than other marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible, where users must have their wallet somewhere external. “That’s a whole different learning curve for the user,” the CEO said.
How confident can NFT buyers be that their assets are safe in the wallet? ‘We have been working with the ethical hackers of Aalst Intigriti for three years, who are putting our systems to the test. We welcome between 10,000 and 30,000 new users daily, our technology is tested every day.’
‘Last year we were able to take out civil liability insurance, which is almost non-existent in our sector. This year we want to increase the sum insured, but also offer several insurance products to our B2B clients. We are investigating whether we can take out theft insurance,” says Dierckxsens.
As the crypto market consolidates, the requests we receive tend to be of higher quality.
In May, Venly will also register with the supervisory authority FSMA in the context of the new regulations. “We have appointed a chief compliance officer. We also want to ask for consultation when developing the guidelines.’
The NFT market broke through last year. “We are now in a consolidation phase, the hype is over a while ago,” says the CEO. But Venly sees the market for him growing steadily. “As the cryptocurrency market consolidates, the requests we receive tend to be of a higher quality.”
Venly has his alliances. When Shopify opens its NFT project, 21 million merchants around the world will be able to download an app that allows them to create NFTs connected to a regulated platform quite easily.
Venly is also becoming an accelerator and is setting up a specialized team for it. New companies will be able to purchase Venly licenses at a reduced price. Therefore, the team and partners are responsible for guidance and capital. Ultimately, that should grow the Venly ecosystem.