ZEBEDEE Looks to Scale Its Real Economics for Virtual Worlds with a $35M Funding Round

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on July 20, 2022

Payment platforms allow people access to making payments when and where they need it, and there are a lot of good options out there for everyday use. However, the same is not true for the virtual world. ZEBEDEE is looking to change that with its payment processor, which provides real economics for virtual worlds, especially in the gaming industry. To learn more about the company and its plans for this round of funding, check out the press release below.

ZEBEDEE, the leading fintech and next-generation payment processor for the gaming industry, today announced it has closed a $35M funding round led by Kingsway Capital and joined by leading global merchant bank The Raine Group as well as video-game giant Square Enix. Existing investors including Lakestar and Initial Capital also participated in the round. This Series B funding round will help ZEBEDEE scale company-wide to meet the needs of the biggest names in the games industry.

ZEBEDEE has created a platform that allows any game developer to easily add programmable money into their games. Anything that happens in a game can trigger a payment, which is sent instantly and at nearly zero cost. When a player shoots someone in a competitive CS:GO match, they can take a small amount of money (e.g. a fraction of a cent) from them in real-time inside the match itself. When a character in a platform game jumps and picks up a coin—as in Super Mario—that coin can be worth real money, which the player receives instantly and can also spend instantly. To make this work, ZEBEDEE offers both API-based tools for developers as well as an app for gamers, which enables them to discover the growing range of ZEBEDEE-powered games and acts as the wallet for sending and receiving funds between games and players.

To make this work from a technical standpoint, ZEBEDEE uses the Bitcoin Lightning Network as a key piece of its payments infrastructure. While blockchain gaming has become a persistent buzzword over the past two years, ZEBEDEE steadily maintains its differentiation as a FinTech and payment services provider focused on gaming: Bitcoin is simply the payment rail that enables the flexible, programmable transfers of any amount between any game, app or user. For ZEBEDEE users, it is not about Bitcoin, nor should it be. It is about a more rewarding experience in games, packaged into intuitive and simple UX that does not require any knowledge of crypto.

This approach clearly resonates with both gamers and game makers and has led ZEBEDEE to have an outstanding year, with their user count increasing by over 10x since the startup announced their series A round in September 2021. The growth has partly been driven by ZEBEDEE’s fast pace of innovation and ability to deliver exciting products to market, as well as a growing number of partnerships both with game studios building on the platform and integrations with notable finance industry players.

“We are pleased to be in a position where we can confidently scale our team and grow our business even as the macroeconomic backdrop becomes increasingly uncertain,” said Simon Cowell, CEO of ZEBEDEE. “This funding round gives us the ability to meet our highly ambitious roadmap both in terms of building out our infrastructure to support the hundreds of millions of users that play our partners’ games, as well as hire the top-level talent needed to ensure every partner has the best possible experience working with ZEBEDEE.”

ZEBEDEE’s new funding round puts the startup in a strong position to expand its best-in-class infrastructure, tools and services tailored specifically for games developers, many of whom are already working with ZEBEDEE.

“We are excited to lead ZEBEDEE’s latest funding round and support their continuing mission to become the Bitcoin enabler of choice for their partners,” said Afonso Campos, Managing Partner at Kingsway Capital. “Partnering with ZEBEDEE will allow its entire ecosystem to benefit from higher user retention, lower transaction costs and generally a superior payments experience. Importantly, it will also help bring Bitcoin to millions around the globe.”

“In ZEBEDEE, we see a world-class team that has created a truly powerful use case for cryptocurrency in games,” said Kenny Lee, Vice President at Raine Group. “We have seen new monetization methods disrupt the gaming industry in the past, and we believe the integration of Bitcoin directly into games is a new way to expand the connection with players and engage them in ways that were never possible before. The wide range of use cases for ZEBEDEE’s platform provides flexibility for the game designer and allows ZEBEDEE to partner with any developer, from AAA console and PC to hyper-casual mobile.”

The original press release can be found on Business Wire.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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