A new venture capital deal for a beloved Pittsburgh gaming startup is yet another sign that 2022 could attract more VC than 2021.
Metafy, the video game coaching marketplace and 2022 list topper for Technical.ly’s RealLIST Startups, announced today that it closed a $25 million Series A round.
The round was led by Tiger Global and Seven Seven Six, as reported this morning by TechCrunch. On Twitter, Metafy cofounder and CEO Josh Fabian shared that $1 million of the raise would be reserved for a new Metafy Community Fund to “support and sponsor competitive and community events, creative projects, and more.”
This Series A raise was long anticipated for the fast-growing gaming company, which raised an $8.6 million seed round (including an initial $3.15 million followed by an extension of $5.5 million) in the spring of 2021 before acquiring one of its game coaching competitors, GamersRdy, in November. Fabian, who is notoriously open about his growth plans for the company, also shared that video game coaches using the Metafy platform earned over $1 million in gross income last year.
“We intend to primarily use the funds to continue hiring,” Fabian wrote in an email to Technical.ly. “We have a team of 32 today, and intend to increase that to 60-70 in the next 12 months. The roles we’re hiring are largely around product. Design, frontend and backend development.”
Like many tech companies nowadays, Metafy currently operates remotely, and thus doesn’t have any specific plans to hire from Pittsburgh, he said. Still, “our largest concentration of the team is indeed here,” he told Technical.ly. “We have a firm commitment to hiring best in class talent for each role, regardless of location. I do hope that some of those folks end up being in Pittsburgh though!” See current open roles here.
In a public newsletter from Fabian published today, the CEO also shared staggering growth rates for a slew of other company metrics. Since June 2021, he reported a 159.1% growth rate in active coaches, a 116.5% increase in active students, a 115.8% growth rate in sessions booked and a 127.1% increase in revenue. He also shared that the company’s total amount of cash in the bank right now is $28,239,145.73 and that Metafy’s monthly burn rate is around $443,000.
Yo! We’re officially announcing our $25m Series A led by Tiger Global and 776.
As part of this, we’re also announcing “The Metafy Community Fund”
$1M reserved for the community — hard cash to fund tournaments, events, and creative endeavors.
— Cruecial (@JoshFabian) February 1, 2022
Despite this success, Fabian remains conscious of the fact that managing a company growing as quickly as Metafy can be immensely challenging. Primarily, he seems concerned about the preservation of the startup’s foundation with the influx of new capital.
“If you have talent of any kind, it has become more and more impossible to produce anything ‘real’ for an extended period of time,” he wrote in the newsletter to investors. “The money people inevitably show up to suck the marrow of talent from your bones. They’ll leave only a husk behind, if you let them.”
The Metafy Community Fund, he continued, is his first plan to alleviate that concern. That $1 million fund will supporting community ideas, which can be submitted through a form on the startup’s website. Some examples Fabian shared of what this money could fund include community competitions, events, creative projects and more, emphasizing that they want to use this fund as “one of the many safety mechanisms we’re putting in place to keep our soul as we continue to grow as both a business and platform.”
The announcement of this latest round for Metafy comes on the tails of some major acquisitions in the gaming industry last month, with Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion and Sony buying Bungie for around $3.6 billion. Locally, it also follows some prominent VC deals in Pittsburgh throughout January, including a $70 million raise from RoadRunner Recycling and a $6 million Series A for fitness coaching platform CoPilot. Fabian hopes to ride the tide of this growth, sharing even bigger goals for 2022, following Metafy’s success last year.
“We hit our goal of $1M in coaching in 2021. In 2022, we’re hoping to see that number 5x – 10x,” he wrote in an email. “Major milestones planned for us this year include courses, subscriptions and continued technology to bridge the gap between great players and great teachers.”Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
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