Layer changes the way brands and game companies enter into licensing agreements
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Layer has a new way to tackle an old problem: how brands and game companies can come together and make mutually beneficial licensing deals.
In May, the Brisbane, Australia-based company announced that it had raised more than $3 million in funding for its licensing marketplace in anticipation of the upcoming metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, as in novels such as Snowfall and Loan player one.
It was started last year by Rachit Moti and Chris Illuk, who were able to work on it full time as they entered the Starmate Accelerator. They have raised funds from Carthona Capital, Aura Ventures, TEN13, Flying Fox, Black Sheep Capital, Luxem and Tribe Ventures. The IP marketplace connects game companies seeking licensing with IP owners who want to put their brands in new places, including games with hard-to-reach demographics.
“Clearly monetization has changed. And these metaverse-like worlds that people are building are trying to be really immersive, right? Moti said in an interview with GamesBeat. “They try to be really, culturally relevant. And I wondered how they were going to do all these licensing when it’s so hard to get a lead. And so we actually started reaching out to both sides and started talking to Hollywood producers and film crews, toy licensors and game crews. And what we really found was that licensing was difficult.
The market can be used to connect everything from characters to movies. Brands such as Care Bears, Animal Planet, Bruce Lee and Snickers use it. And game companies that use it include Rogue, Addicting Games, Illuvium, Trove, Stillfront, Ready Player Me, Play Way, GoNoodle, Gamigo Group, Aceviral, AviaGames, Shockwave, Crikey, and Bookful.
“We can help you get to know these intellectual property owners and rights holders to navigate the gaming space,” Moti said. “For game companies, it’s about licensing brands that will make fans love our product more.”
Moti and Illuk debuted last August in the accelerator. And in seven weeks, they built their minimum viable product. Now they have hundreds of assets in the platform. The goal is to remove market inefficiency and change the way brands and game companies meet and make deals.
Moti said he spent thousands of hours playing games, but had no trouble finding a career in games. He ended up in technology and playing in a rock band on the side.
The concept for Layer was born after Moti licensed a song by his now-defunct band in a NASCAR racing game. The song, The more you know, made it NASCAR Heat 3. Illuk was struck by the legal complexities and opaque nature of the licensing process. They have teamed up to democratize IP licensing by streamlining and simplifying the entire process.
“It was really cool for a small band to have a song and a soundtrack,” he said. ” This is the dream. But from a technical standpoint, it was really interesting to see that there wasn’t a more efficient way for this to happen.
Layer matches game developers with IP holder profiles based on business requirements, audience overlap, and thematic fit. For example, a developer working on a new game aimed at children can join the platform and be associated with popular children’s characters based on the parameters they set. Once two companies are happy with a match, they can move on to the negotiation stage to agree trading terms, all of which are managed within the platform.
“We’re building a managed marketplace where if a match is pushed, if you’re a developer receiving that match with Care Bears, for example, then it will say that IP address is right for you,” Moti said.
Game developers can access the platform for free. But licensors have to pay since Layer gives them a better understanding of the game market as well as paying publishers and developers who want to license their properties. Layer therefore obtains a share from the licensors.
“Our competition is really the old way of doing things,” Moti said. “Right now, the leading companies in the market have an unfair advantage because they have the time and the people to do the job. From a software or technical standpoint, we haven’t come across anyone opening up this space and focusing specifically on game licensing. Over the past few years, companies have realized that gaming really matters and is incredibly diverse. »
More than 90 game companies and 180 brands use it.
“It’s about publishers, from small self-publishing developers who have a team of five or 10 people, to larger ones,” he said. “Now we’re at the point where we’re really moving on the gaming side. And that number is growing rapidly. And we’re starting to see bigger and bigger names entering the publishing space.
And Layer doesn’t have an army of lawyers behind the curtain. He has a team of 12.
Of course, we’re all going to run into issues when we think about intellectual property rights for AI-created artwork, like the OpenAI Foundation’s DALL-E or MidJourney. Lawyers are only beginning to determine who is entitled to AI-created art.
“I’m not an expert on this,” Moti said.
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