Tiv, a payments platform for gamers, emerged from stealth this week, announcing a $3.5 million seed round led by 4490 Ventures.
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The Chicago-based startup, which is pre-revenue, will provide users with a virtual and physical payments card, and let them link their cross-platform gaming through Tiv. The platform will then capture the time they spend gaming and various other endgame achievements. The app not only showcases those achievements to the user, but for every hour played, their cardholder reward rate increases.
“Ultimately, our goal is to encourage people to pursue their passion of gaming and use that to touch every aspect of their lives, online and offline,” CEO Jed Strong said in an interview with Crunchbase News.
For example, a user who plays four hours of FIFA one night will receive an increased reward rate when they go grocery shopping the next day, according to Strong.
Strong and co-founder JP Pillat both have backgrounds in gaming. Strong previously spent five years working on strategy and business development for Xbox, while Pillat spent five years as a Twitch streamer and content creator with more than 500,000 subscribers on Twitch and YouTube.
It was when Pillat got married in 2016 that he had the idea for Tiv, Strong said.
“When he got married and was combining finances with this wife she kind of sat him down and was like, ‘You’re spending a lot of time and money on this habit and I love you for it, but you have to pull this back.’ ”
Pillat looked into funding his gaming through credit card rewards but came up empty, and tinkered with the idea of Tiv, partnering with Strong.
The company, founded in April 2020, has a team of five employees and plans to double its headcount in the next year. Tiv wanted Midwest-based investors to partner with, and Wisconsin-based 4490 Ventures ultimately led the round, with participation from Silverton Partners and other angel investors.
“The founders here have deep, deep gaming expertise. They’re not looking to us for gaming expertise,” 4490 venture partner Malcolm Thorne said in an interview. “I do think there are some interesting trends that are emerging from the gaming industry. And clearly, we sort of migrated from this world of physical media to completely online. So this movement to digitize everything in the gaming world is creating new opportunities for new business models.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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