ZEBEDEE Raises $35 Million Series B From Kingsway Capital, The Raine Group, Square Enix and Existing Investors to Scale Payments Platform for Virtual Worlds
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.”
Key Company Info:
Amount of funds ZEBEDEE has raised to date: Approximately $50M
Current team size: 50+ employees spread out across the world on a fully remote team
The company was founded: October 2019
Size of average transaction (nanopayment): $0.08
Size of smallest transaction currently supported: $0.0002 with potential to decrease by 1000x if market demand arises.
ZEBEDEE is the leading fintech and next-generation payment processor for the gaming industry. Its sophisticated tools enable developers to create real economies in video games for developers, players and communities. ZEBEDEE erases the boundaries between real and virtual worlds by powering instant global payments of any size for any game or application through the Bitcoin Lightning Network. Learn more about ZEBEDEE and the benefits it brings to developers and gamers alike at zebedee.io.
About The Raine Group:
The Raine Group is a global merchant bank focused exclusively on technology, media, and telecommunications. The Firm has offices in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Paris and Shanghai. With a global reach, Raine focuses on investment and advisory opportunities where its deep industry experience and unique network of strategic relationships can create value for portfolio companies and clients. For more information, visit www.raine.com.
About Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.
Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, is the holding company leading the group of Square Enix companies (the "Square Enix Group") with a diverse range of content and service businesses. The Square Enix Group publishes, distributes and licenses entertainment content around the world under its internationally renowned brands including SQUARE ENIX®, EIDOS® and TAITO®. The Square Enix Group includes a global network of leading development studios located in North America, Europe and Japan. The Square Enix Group also boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property including: FINAL FANTASY®, which has sold over 168 million units worldwide; DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 84 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 88 million units worldwide; and the legendary SPACE INVADERS®. More information on Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. can be found at http://www.hd.square-enix.com/eng/.