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Solchicks founder rattles $US100m tin for new crypto project

Street Talk

Crypto founder and former private equity dealmaker William Wu has hired Lazard Australia to start shopping his new project to high-profile crypto investors.

And Wu’s not afraid to swing hard. The pitch deck for Catheon Gaming, a kind of ‘Steam’ for blockchain-based games, has already raised eyebrows with its capital raising target between $US100 million and $US200 million.

Despite cratering crypto markets, in which the overheated NFT market has turned ice-cold, Wu, who spent four years at in the investments team at alternatives giant Oaktree Capital Management, is determined to build a digital game storefront for blockchain-based games.

The idea is web3 games, or games that feature nonfungible-tokens that players can trade and earn real money from, need a digital shop where players can download the latest games and updates. In traditional gaming circles, Steam has taken the title of the best video game distribution platform for nearly twenty years. Steam’s parent company Valve
was valued at $US7.7 billion in May.


According to the purple teaser pitch deck, Catheon has already lined up 37 games for distribution, including Wu’s other crypto-based game Solchicks (which raised $US77 million last year in a token sale and boasts 113 investors on its website).


Moving video games to the blockchain

Aside from the blockchain-based gaming shop, Catheon also wants to build an advisory studio that helps traditional games “blockchain themselves”. A process, Wu reckons, takes between three and four months.

Most recently, Catheon landed a big fish in Mark Aubrey. Aubrey, who built a plum gaming career at Activision Blizzard as the MD and head of APAC, joins Catheon as co-CEO.

In terms of financials, Catheon is deep in the crypto-weeds. Over the last nine months the pitch deck says Catheon banked $US88 million from token vesting and $US63 million in cash. It boasts a 95 per cent EBITDA margin and 89 per cent cash conversion. It says it doesn’t capitalise any costs.

While capital costs might be $0, the operations are substantial: Catheon Gaming already has 94 core employees, 106 community team members, 8 strategic advisors and has partnered with 19 game studios.

While Catheon’s big audacious goal being considered by Australia’s largest venture capital funds and a few select crypto-specific investors, Wu has to shake off some negative internet press that has dogged his footsteps these last twelve months.

*Content excerpted from Australian Financial Review, please refer to link for full article: https://www.afr.com/street-talk/solchicks-founder-rattles-us100m-tin-for-new-crypto-project-20220712-p5b0zh

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