WazirX co-founder Siddharth Menon and the Pune-based firm SuperGaming had announced a partnership earlier this year to found Tegro, a web3 gaming marketplace. But mere months after that announcement, Menon and SuperGaming have gone their separate ways, with the former’s CEO Roby John only continuing in an advisory role.
A comparison of Tegro’s website with an archived version from earlier this year shows that the entire founders’ profiles from the front page have been removed, and a Crunchbase profile of the company only shows Menon as an active employee.
“There is no “break-up” happening between SuperGaming and Tegro,” a SuperGaming spokesperson told Entrackr. “We are in the midst of restructuring to ensure smoother operations: Tegro is the B2C platform being built by an independent team at Tegro and SuperGaming will be building the incubation platform for Web3 games with advisory & economics.”
“Things are all good & exciting here,” Menon told Entrackr in a message after this story was initially published. “Roby [John of SuperGaming] & me are passionate builders, we are working together closely under new structure to build the web3 game ecosystem.” John, meanwhile, posted a group picture from a recent trip to Singapore, seated at a table with Menon, among others.
The new arrangement is a drastic downgrade of what was initially announced.
John was a co-founder of Tegro, with an initial COO designation, but his LinkedIn page currently only bills him as an advisor. Sanket Nadhani, another SuperGaming executive who was also initially Tegro’s Chief Marketing Officer, does not have any mention of the web3 startup on his LinkedIn profile. John and Nadhani were mentioned in a post by Tegro’s LinkedIn page as recently as a couple months ago. Navneet Waraich, another SuperGaming executive, still has Tegro on his profile.
A source told Entrackr that the split came following differences between SuperGaming and Menon, with the WazirX co-founder’s frustration coming to a head following prolonged silence on raising funds and contributing technology expertise, which the gaming company was supposed to bring to the table. The partnership was also frozen due to anxiety about regulatory uncertainty surrounding crypto, as exchanges were being raided by the Enforcement Directorate and some crypto executives found themselves scrutinized by tax authorities.
The Tegro pitch has been ambitious, as have its fundraising goals. The partnership aimed at reshaping in-game marketplaces that relied on crypto with a sustainable model, and develop games around this framework. The firm announced a $1 million grant in May to assist individual web3 gaming projects with $25,000 in funding and advice on tech.
The firm was apparently shopping around for investors even before its pitch had evolved into a concrete product, which is not uncommon; but the scale at which it was attempting to raise appeared staggering. Entrackr source said that the firm was eyeing a nine figure valuation with an investment of around 10% that value. A Morning Context report revealed that investors were balking even at a reduced ask of $25 million for a $200 million valuation.
Tegro is starting work on an “open source model” of an in-game economic model called Tegronomics, Menon said on Twitter earlier this month. “Gamers are more familiar with the concept of digital assets than the general public,” Menon said in a post, explaining why he thought crypto uptake among gamers would be high.
Even amid the crypto winter, which saw the prices of several digital assets crash, Tegro maintained some optimism. “Deep fluctuations in the market are completely normal for new asset classes. If you believe in an idea, go ahead and build it. The market will eventually recover,” the company said in the post.
A Bloomberg report this month showed that gaming studios were starting to act with caution on crypto assets, as the play-to-earn model coupled with NFTs led to “scarcity and exclusion,” with digital assets attracting few bids, if any, in second hand marketplaces. Menon insisted on Twitter that Tegro’s model was different.
“NFT are illiquid assets, if you are buying for investment then be aware as you will not be able to liquidate them easily,” he said. “At [Tegro] we are building Tegronomics which helps games to build economics with fungibility. This keeps the markets liquid thereby protecting investors.”
Update: This story has been updated with a statement by Tegro founder Siddharth Menon.