From Arcade Dreams to Web3 Vision: The Journey of Robby Yung and Animoca

Robby Yung

Long before he was CEO of Animoca, Robby Yung was a young gamer in local Arcades playing pacman and donkey kong. He returned to gaming in 1997 with his first Angel Investment in a company called Muse. It was a friend’s company and they had wanted to build a metaverse following the publication of Neil Stevenson’s Snow Crash. At the time, the metaverse concept could only be visualized in games. The demo that they hacked together to prove the concept was essentially created with a level editor from the first person shooter Doom. Because the tools were so limited, they actually did an e-commerce demo where the only way to shop was to shoot. While they didn’t quite build a metaverse, his career did eventually circle back. 

Robby spent significant time in telecom, media, and technology. Originally from the East Coast, he moved to Hong Kong while working for an American Telecom company. He eventually left to work on his own web development start-up around 1998. Here is where the real networking started and Yung started meeting local entrepreneurs. At the time, web start-ups in Hong Kong were niche and there were probably only around 25 people in the industry. One of these entrepreneurs was Yat Siu and they quickly became friends. 

Robby had a traditional media business rolling during this time as well. This was around 2010 and Yat had just started a mobile game business called Animoca. It took off quickly in the early days as mobile gaming in the app store were really taking off. Robby then sold his media company and joined Animoca in 2012 with an eye towards scaling it, eventually becoming CEO in 2015. When web3 stepped on their radar in 2017 things began to accelerate at an even quicker pace.  

Currently, Robby spends most of his time on the investing side of the business which is focused on the web3 ecosystem. He spends his day talking to entrepreneurs and companies reviewing pitches and new ideas. He’s no stranger to events and he just finished speaking at NFT Fest following that up with a speaking engagement at EthCC this wednesday. His goal is to always evangelize for the space and Robby particularly enjoys going to events outside of web3 because “an important part of what we do is to tell the story of what web3 brings to the world,” Robby Said. 

One thing that makes Animoca unique according to Robby is they’ve been in the same office for 24 years. They have a diverse and large team and it’s taken years to get the right group of people together and the strong company culture they have today. 

Animoca is one of 2 large gaming companies in Hong Kong and have always approached the industry with a global mindset. They take time to approach different geographic territories and languages in order to capture their audience and culture correctly. “ I think it makes us very open to this whole theme or thesis of web3 that we can unite lots of different kinds of communities across the Internet,” Robby said. 

Robby noted “Once we entered blockchain, we saw the opportunity to be part of the creation of an industry at the beginning.” One of the hard parts of being early, is no one knows how early they actually are or how long they need to wait for the tech to take hold. Animoca takes a diversified strategy to spread the risk. They invested in Opensea, and Metamask, and a lot of the tools they saw would be needed to use the products being built.

Listen to the full interview from @howimetweb3 on spotify:

 

When it comes packaging your project for investment Robby said, “the sexier your project is so to speak. Then usually the more interest you have and therefore the more you can afford to be discriminating.” Raising capital to finance your dreams is hard. Robby suggests not focusing on your valuation but more on raising enough to have a runway and the time to build what you want to build. 

To keep tabs on Robby Yung follow @viewfromhk on x

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