Unagi, the Paris-based blockchain gaming studio that in November lured attention from Binance Labs, recently collected €4.7 million in funding.
The round was led by games early-stage VC Sisu Game Ventures with participation from Sfermion, UOB Ventures, Signum Capital, 2B Ventures, Machame, and angel investors Sandeep Nailwal, Sebastien Borget, and Mario Götze.
Proceeds will go to R&D and team hires adding some 10-15 employees to its 30-person headcount. This is Unagi's fourth round of funding; it agreed a $4 million CHAMP token sale with Binance in November.
Unagi's first web3 release is a fantasy sports game called Ultimate Champions that is currently in open beta.
The studio is directed by Remi Pellerin and Charlie Guillemot, both formerly of French games publishing giant Ubisoft.
Unagi's free-to-play Ultimate Champions platform lets gamers accumulate virtual playing cards representing football players, allowing them to choose their dream squad and change players by adding new cards to their selection.
Each player card has skillsets that become stronger or weaker depending on the player's track record in real life, with skills updating after each real-world fixture. NFT and marketplace functionality also feature: each playing card is a holdable NFT and users earn rewards (either SMGC or SCHAMP tokens) following each match day.
Unagi is now preparing to launch a basketball variant of its game, opening up further growth opportunities.
Euroleague Basketball — continental Europe's premier basketball league — has signed a licence deal to enable the best teams and player.s to feature in the new edition.
In the football game, about 200,000 users have logged on and Unagi has licences with 47 leading soccer teams spread around Europe, including in France, Germany, the UK, and Romania.
Getting the traditional fantasy sports element right was also key. Some fantasy sports users have noted defensive midfield players are rarely useful in their position, and Unagi says it's managed to embed enriched in-game live data so that this pain point is resolved.
Rémi Pellerin, CEO and co-founder of Unagi, commented: "Web3 gaming is on the rise. For Unagi, Ultimate Champions is a pilot with which we’re creating, testing and improving the gaming web3 tools we’re developing in our studio.
"We’re incredibly proud of the game’s progress over the last few months in the football world and we’re looking forward to expanding on that experience and offering sporting enthusiasts our new Euroleague Basketball game. It's an exciting time”.
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