Two veterans of Riot Games have launched Patron, an early stage venture firm focusing on the convergence of games and consumer startups, a space the founders call the “Spectrum of Play.”
Patron’s debut $90 million seed fund is backed by more than 100 limited partners, including Chris Dixon and Arianna Simpson of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) Crypto.
“It’s our conviction that games will shape the future. We believe that the biggest opportunities in games will converge into Web 3 (P2E [play-to-earn]/NFTs), and consumer categories like education, fitness, personal finance and more. It will be built for the gaming-natives who not only grew up with games such as Roblox and RuneScape, but also consumer apps like Discord, TikTok, Robinhood and digital assets like NFTs and crypto,” wrote Patron co-founder Jason Yeh in the announcement blog post.
Patron views games as the “biggest consumer on-ramp to Web 3″ with play-to-earn and non-fungible token (NFT) games “some of the most exciting developments” in the crypto gaming space. “For this reason, we will allocate a significant amount of our capital towards investing in Web 3 native projects and tokens,” wrote Yeh.
Yeh and co-founder Brian Cho both joined venture capital firms early in their careers, which the partners believe differentiates Patron as a fund. Cho was an early hire of a16z, while Yeh was a founding team member of FirstMark Capital, which invested in Riot Games’ Series A funding round.
Yeh joined Riot before the launch of “League of Legends,” the massively popular multiplayer online arena game that has become an esports staple, and left in 2017. Cho was with Riot up until four months ago when he departed to launch Patron.
“Between the two of us, we’ve seen this whole journey of building a free-to-play, community-driven online game, and then expanding beyond games into building one of the most popular sports with young people around the world,” Yeh said in an interview with CoinDesk.
Patron told CoinDesk the fund has already backed four companies. The official announcements will come at a later date, but Patron says more than half focus on the play-to-earn space and one is a token deal.