Pahdo Labs Secures $15M Series A Funding led by a16z

New York-based game development studio, Pahdo Labs, has successfully raised $15M in a Series A financing round, according to its official blog. The round was spearheaded by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and saw participation from Pear VC, BoxGroup, Long Journey Ventures, Neo, and Global Founders Capital. This follows a previous seed round where the company garnered $2.5M from notable angel investors including Kevin Hartz, Mark Pincus, and Cyan Banister.

Founded in 2021 by Daniel Zou, Pahdo Labs began its journey in Irvine, California. The company’s inception during the pandemic saw a group of game developers come together, united by their passion for anime and action role-playing games. The team’s dedication led them to relocate to New York, focusing solely on creating multiplayer video games.

Pahdo Labs’ upcoming project, codenamed “Halcyon Zero”, is set to launch its Pre-Alpha playtests this September. The game promises a unique blend of anime aesthetics and action role-playing, allowing players to craft their own anime-style worlds. These creations are facilitated by AI-enhanced tools and procedural generation, emphasizing both creativity and social interaction within the anime RPG realm.

The game, built on the Godot Engine, is an isometric anime fantasy RPG. It features a vibrant world with towns and cities acting as social epicenters. Players can collaborate to traverse the Chaos-infested wilderness, battling anime-themed bosses to uncover the mysteries of Chaos. The gameplay is designed to be dynamic, with a focus on teamwork and fluid combat. The Pre-Alpha version will introduce four character classes: Spellblade, Enchanter, Witch, and Spitfire. The full release aims to offer a plethora of anime-inspired heroes and will be available on multiple platforms, including PC, iOS, and Switch.

In addition to the core game, Pahdo Labs is integrating comprehensive level-building tools. These tools empower players to design their own in-game experiences, making user-generated content a pivotal aspect of the game’s narrative and overall player experience.

Interestingly, Pahdo Labs has leveraged TikTok to build an early community. Their content, which provides insights into indie game development and the daily life of their New York-based team, has amassed millions of views. Through their official TikTok accounts, @pahdolabs and @1indaqin, they not only engage potential players but also inspire future game developers.

In a note, founder Daniel Zou expressed his gratitude to the supporters and shared his vision for Pahdo Labs. Drawing inspiration from his childhood experiences with online RPGs, Zou emphasized the company’s mission: “Creating a world where players are empowered to create things of lasting value.”

With the Pre-Alpha playtests on the horizon, Pahdo Labs invites anime and action RPG enthusiasts to be a part of their evolving game world.

About Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)

Andreessen Horowitz, commonly referred to as a16z, is a prominent venture capital firm dedicated to supporting ambitious entrepreneurs who aim to shape the future with innovative technology. The firm is not restricted by the developmental stage of companies; it invests across various stages, from seed to growth. a16z’s investment portfolio is diverse, encompassing sectors such as AI, bio + healthcare, consumer, crypto, enterprise, fintech, games, and initiatives promoting American dynamism. Currently, the firm manages assets worth $35B spread across multiple funds.

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‘China’s crypto ban had little impact on Neo,’ says organization’s developers

Once hailed as the “Ethereum of China,” Neo’s token price has fallen on hard times ever since the world’s most populous nation introduced a series of acute bans on cryptocurrency operations last year. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Neo’s developers — who wished to remain anonymous — explained that partners run most projects sponsored by Neo Global Development, or NGD, from a wide range of countries outside China that serve users all over the world.

In addition, Neo continues to expand inside China. It is currently one of seven open permission blockchains servicing the nation’s Blockchain-based Service Network, or BSN. One of the group’s goals is to expand the adoption of nonfungible tokens in the country.

There’s also been quite a few decentralized finance, or DeFi projects, and decentralized applications, or dApps, since the launch of the Neo 3.0, sometimes stylized as Neo N3, mainnet last year. One example is Defina Finance, an anime-styled NFT metaverse game that uses a play-to-earn model. Total trading volume in the Defina marketplace has exceeded $100 million at time of publication. Defina began expanding to Neo N3 in 2021 in partnership with NGD.

But according to the project’s team, the “coolest” development is probably that of Rentfuse. Our sources from Neo explained:

“Rentfuse is a protocol designed to manage NFT rental agreements between owners and tenants for gaming or other functions. Neo leadership is working with Rentfuse to establish it as an NFT leasing standard for the Neo ecosystem.”

Its developers, too, appear to be fond of the greater Neo community. “We reached thousands of people through Neo socials to let people know more from us, and we have developed the core contracts of Rentfuse,” so said Michael Fabozzi, founder of Rentfuse, in a statement to Cointelegraph. “Thank you for believing in us.”

Meanwhile, sources at GhostMarket, a multi-chain Neo NFT marketplace that recently raised $2 million in strategic funding and completed an initial DEX offering on Flamingo Finance, told Cointelegraph:

“Neo’s $10 million N3’s early adoption program [last year] was vital for Neo to attract and onboard new projects and was very much needed to exponentially scale Neo ecosystem.”

When asked about what made Neo unique in a sea of smart-contract, proof-of-stake blockchains, they explained that out of many highlights, Neo 3.0 has a native built-in oracle for HTTPS or NeoFS requests. A distributed data storage solution also exists for scalability and privacy on the NeoFS Network.

In addition, interoperability protocol Poly. Network enabled cross-chain communications between Neo and Ethereum (ETH), Binance Chain (BNB), and more. There’s also NeoID, which is a self sovereign identity initiative allows developers to customize the precise level of attribute verification needed to ensure that contract operates correctly.

Defina Finance gameplay | Source: Defina Finance