Mr Moti, a former Go1 sales and operations head for the Asia-Pacific region, grew up loving gaming and always wanted to work in the industry. Without a thriving gaming tech scene in Brisbane, he ended up working in other local start-ups in Brisbane and Sydney, learning how to run a business.
He met Mr Illuk, a former product lead at 3D mapping and analytics company Propeller, in 2014 at a start-up meet-up in Brisbane. At the time, they were working on their own projects, but when Mr Moti had the idea for Layer, he knew he wanted Mr Illuk involved.
‘An inefficient market’
A last-minute application and acceptance into a Starmate accelerator program was the catalyst the pair needed to quit their jobs and work full-time on Layer.
“While I was at Go1, I was also in a band and we licensed a song into a NASCAR video game. It wasn’t worth a lot of money, but it was a bit of fun,” Mr Moti said.
“What was interesting to me was the whole process was really messy, there was no natural way that it came about. It was just tweets, emails and then legal contracts going back and forth.
“It was an inefficient market.”
When the pair began the Startmate program in August last year, all they had was an idea on a Google doc.
Within seven weeks, they had built a minimum viable product and had already started adding IP to the marketplace.
Now, they have a team of eight and have added almost 200 assets to the platform.
Mr Moti said his goal for the next two years was to match 1000 games with IP through Layer.
“We are helping more mid-tier, smaller developers that wouldn’t have had access to pop culture content otherwise,” he said.
“When you think about NBA2K [which is a fully licensed game], or the way Fortnite collaborates with Marvel movies, it’s clear that these AAA game publishers understand that bringing in characters that people know and love helps attract players and create more engaging player experiences.
“We’re also looking into making the whole process easier … taking advantage of blockchain processes to make loyalty processes easier, and enable instant approvals.”
Carthona Capital principal Jonathan Chow said gaming was a hot sector at the moment thanks to its importance in the creation of the metaverse.
“Our view is that in order for the metaverse to feel real, it needs to consist of content people know and can relate to,” he said.
“We’ve seen many companies trying to build new worlds within the metaverse, and believe that as these worlds are built, they will need to be able to bring pop culture within them.”