Azra Games raises $15 million from crypto, gaming investors – The Business Journals

 Sacramento blockchain gaming startup Azra Games has raised $15 million, led by two funds of Menlo Park-based Andreessen Horowitz, one of the largest venture capital firms in the world. <br>     Azra is developing online role-playing games where players own their characters and can earn tokens as they play. <br>     "CEO <a href=" Otero" class="article-content-item">Mark Otero</a> is a seasoned game director who was at the forefront of mobile free-to-play games with the hit franchise 'Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes,'” said <a href=" Lai" class="article-content-item">Jonathan Lai</a>, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, in a news release. “We’re excited to partner with Mark and the Azra team as they apply their expertise to Web3 games in creating new types of gameplay and economy design." <br>     Web3 is associated with blockchain technology. <br>     Azra Games is led by Otero, co-founder of the Sacramento region’s most successful gaming startup just over a decade ago, KlickNation. <a href=" Walton" class="article-content-item">Ken Walton</a>, the other co-founder of KlickNation, is Azra’s vice president of marketplace. Sacramento serial entrepreneur <a href=" Mayugba" class="article-content-item">Sonny Mayugba</a> is chief operating officer. <br>     With Azra’s games, players will be able to get their characters as a non-fungible token, which they own. Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are specific units of data stored on a digital ledger, commonly known as a blockchain. <br>     Otero started KlickNation in 2009 in Sacramento, before selling it three years later to Redwood City gaming giant Electronic Arts Inc. Otero worked as an executive with Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA) for another four years. <br>     Other investors in the seed round include San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital investor NFX, which was an early investor in DoorDash Inc. (NYSE: DASH) and Lyft Inc. (Nasdaq: LYFT). <br>     The seed round also had participation from San Francisco-based crypto investor Coinbase Ventures, Singapore-based game investor Play Ventures and San Mateo-based Franklin Templeton Investments. <br>     The Andreessen Horowitz investment came from both its gaming and its crypto investment funds, Azra said. <br>     “As a kid, I spent countless hours role playing with all of my different toys,” said Otero, in a news release. “At Azra, we are making a game to recreate this joy, to re-engage adults’ imaginations once again with the ultimate collectibles fantasy, combined with the ultimate fast-paced mix-and-match combat that is accessible yet deeply strategic.” <br>     According to LinkedIn, Azra is up to 22 employees, after having <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">just launched this year</a>. The company has been <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">on a hiring spree</a> for months. <br>     KlickNation developed games for social platforms like Facebook, where users could play with their friends. The games were free to play, and users could pay to upgrade. The company made its money from the upgrades. <br>     Azra Games will also make money from upgrades, and it will allow players to buy utility tokens. Or, they can earn tokens as they play. <br>     “We are incredibly impressed by what the team is building,” said <a href=" Levy-Weiss" class="article-content-item">Gigi Levy-Weiss</a>, NFX general partner, in a news release. “I believe Azra will be the leader in blending amazing gameplay with digital ownership, offering ultimate value and entertainment to players.” <br>Want to stay ahead of who &amp; what is next? The national Inno newsletter is your definitive first-look              at the people, companies &amp; ideas shaping and driving the U.S. innovation economy.<br><br><a href="">source</a>