Lionel Messi Backs Web3 Soccer Game Startup Matchday in $21M Round

The studio is working with FIFA and plans to build Web3 games with the support of pro soccer superstar Lionel Messi’s VC firm Play Time.

Matchday, a soccer-centric Web3 gaming startup, announced today that it has raised $21 million in seed funding to develop a suite of games—with legendary soccer player Lionel Messi’s venture capital firm onboard.

Messi’s Play Time firm backed the startup, with Courtside Ventures, Greylock, HackVC, Capricorn Investment Group, and Horizons Ventures also participating in the round. Spanish soccer star Alexia Putellas, meanwhile, serves as Matchday’s founding global ambassador.

The soccer legend—who plays for pro team Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and recently led Argentina’s national team to the 2022 FIFA World Cup win—has already made a number of moves in the NFT world.

He’s a brand ambassador for prominent NFT fantasy soccer game Sorare, as well as fan token platform Socios; Messi invested in the former and signed a $20 million endorsement deal with the latter. He has also released his own official NFT collectibles through the Ethernity Chain platform.

Matchday has an official license from FIFA, the governing body behind the World Cup, as well as the FIFPRO players association. In a statement, Matchday co-founder and CEO Derrick Ko explained that the games will be optimized for “casual” users.

“We are building for an untapped audience in the football community,” Ko said.

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