Irreverent Labs

After Unikrn's sale to Entain, Rahul Sood returns with AI and NFTs-powered gaming studio, raises $5M for blockchain metaverse

Rahul Sood.
Reading time 2:19 min

Experienced businessman Rahul Sood, former Microsoft Ventures executive and co-founder of crypto-based esports betting platform Unikrn, is returning to gaming with a new startup called Irreverent Labs.

The Seattle-based company, which has already raised $5 million, is working on a new play-to-earn game utilizing cutting-edge technology. The project is being developed by a veteran gaming team, and will feature AI characters living on the blockchain as NFTs.

Sood, recognized as an innovative entrepreneur in the esports and gaming industries, is known for his works with Microsoft Ventures and later at Unikrn, which he co-founded in 2014 with Karl Flores. The company, which focuses on esports betting on blockchain technology, has recently been acquired by Entain for an undisclosed price.

According to a statement on Irreverent Labs’ site, the company aims at “reinventing how games are played, owned and watched” by merging advanced machine learning, engrossing gameplay and blockchain technology. “We’re building hundred-year games, designed to grow across decades of breathtaking depth and fun,” the business explains.

Sood’s new venture will merge gaming technology with the power of NFTs, which can employ blockchain technology to authenticate digitized items, such as AI characters. The upcoming game is designed to evolve over time with machine learning and decentralized player ownership. Players will be able to interact with non-playable characters utilizing artificial intelligence technology, allowing them to hold real-time and meaningful conversations with players.

The startup closed a $5 million round of funding in just a week. Investors interested in Sood’s new project include AdvancIt Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Keen Crypto. The Unikrn co-founder says Irreverent Labs will create its own “metaverse” on the blockchain.

The first game is set to take place in this ambitious metaverse, and is meant to offer artificial intelligence-powered entertainment designed to transcend current players, reinventing itself for multiple generations. Developers said it will be easy to learn, allowing for the onboarding of players of any level of blockchain experience. The experience will allow a feature-complex economy with play-and-earn experiences.

“Our first game is hilarious and I’ve never had as much fun as I’ve had with the Irreverent Labs team,” said Sood on the development. “I speak often about gaming and blockchain’s inevitable convergence. Players should own their gaming assets the same way they own physical games, and blockchain lets us give control back to players to own, trade, sell, use and build new metaverse experiences using components from our games.”

More details on the new game are expected to be announced in December. Sood’s new project comes amidst projects from other companies, such as Alithea AI, also developing NPCs that can have intelligent conversations with human players by utilizing AI technology.

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