Haun Ventures leads $10 million funding round for Web3 gaming startup Argus Labs


Scott Sunarto, the CEO and founder of Argus Labs, is only 22 years old. But unlike most in their early twenties, he now has access to a pot of $10 million.

He and his Web3 gaming company announced the funding on Tuesday—a seed round led by Haun Ventures, the firm started by former federal prosecutor Katie Haun. Other participants include Robot Ventures, Anagram, Dispersion Capital, and Alchemy. Sunarto declined to provide the company’s valuation.

Haun Ventures recently has focused on crypto infrastructure, including Sovereign Labs, and Breck Stodghill, an investment associate at the firm, clarified to Fortune that its backing of Argus Labs—its first Web3 gaming startup in its portfolio—isn’t a pivot.

“I don’t necessarily see it as a departure from infrastructure investing,” Stodghill added. “I think it’s actually a really nice complement to building both the infrastructure and the applications at the same time.”

The investment in Argus is Haun’s latest, as the recently launched firm continues to spread $1.5 billion among crypto companies despite the regulatory uncertainty regarding the industry in the U.S. and the SEC’s recent targeting of the largest exchanges.

“We are not a gaming fund,” Stodghill told Fortune. “But we recognize that gaming is an interesting market and we want to back who we perceive are the best founders in this new market.”

Sunarto, the founder of Argus Labs, said he first started playing around with crypto in middle school. “I thought it was funny,” he said of his initial impressions of Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and the wider market.

However, as he grew older, Web3 became less of a joke and more of a passion. In high school, he started writing his own smart contracts, or programs designed to run on a blockchain, and in college, he and a few friends launched Dark Forest, an online strategy game that codifies players’ decisions onto the blockchain.

As the game grew in popularity, Sunarto’s plans for the future became more ambitious. “We realized that we want to build more games like Dark Forest, but the infrastructure wasn’t really there,” he told Fortune.

So, he founded Argus Labs. His company’s first goal is to focus on infrastructure through a product he calls the World Engine, or a system for developers to more easily create blockchain games to not overwhelm the limited computational resources of most blockchains, which are slow, decentralized computers.

With the new capital, he and his team plan to roll out World Engine and then focus on a game they’re developing, which they plan to release later this year. (Sunarto didn’t provide specifics about the game.)

“We can experiment and build new things that were previously impossible on the infrastructure side,” he told Fortune. “And then that will give people on the content side of things and application side of things new design space for building games that were previously considered impossible.”

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