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Azarus has raised $4 million in funding to add its overlay for trivia games to titles such as League of Legends.
The San Francisco company is developing a platform that gamifies livestreams of titles such as League of Legends, said CEO Alex Casassovici in an interview with GamesBeat. An influencer using the overlay can engage fans with a relevant trivia game during livestreams of League of Legends gameplay.
Existing investors Galaxy Digital, Animoca Brands, and Kleiner Perkins, led the extended seed round to bring Azarus to more games and streams.
LoL fans will be challenged to answer Azarus Challenges trivia questions about the popular multiplayer game during the livestreams of their favorite content creators, testing their attention to what has been happening in the streamed game and making predictions about what could happen next. In some measurements, the company has seen anywhere between 40% to 90% engagement with the game.
“We turn streams into really what we believe is a new digital arena,” said Casassovici. “Streams are the new arenas. We can overlay a game on the livestream. We put these interactive games as a layer on top of the stream and get everybody to stay together as they watch. It creates a bond in that audience and it turns a one-way experience into a game.”
Azarus will use the funds to expand to the top 10 games on Twitch and develop its fan-based economy. The new League of Legends trivia game is the first of several to launch in 2022. Gaingels, Red Beard Ventures, and angel investors Mike Verdu (Netflix), Bernard Kim (Zynga), and Kun Gao (Crunchyroll) are also a part of this new round.
“Azarus is creating a sustainable, effective, and rewarding way for streamers to bond more deeply with their audiences,” Bing Gordon, partner at Kleiner Perkins, said in a statement. “Azarus is the first platform enabling a new category of games that helps smart, passionate, community-driven broadcasters turn their streams in MMOs with interactive overlays like the upcoming Azarus trivia game for League of Legends.”
The seed round will also be used to increase the number of streamer and esports partnerships. As part of the launch for the League of Legends trivia game, Azarus is partnering with prominent streamers in the League scene, such as Caedrel, CookieLoLxx, IMLS, lol-nemesis and Tarzaned, with more League streamers coming this month and beyond.
These new partnerships will offer tens of millions of viewers the chance to play Azarus and earn points to redeem in the Azarus Store, which features more than 25,000 digital rewards including Riot Points and other League-themed content.
Viewers who want to play can find live Azarus streams on azarus.io and streamers interested in getting started with Azarus can check it out here.
The company started in 2019 with Rainbow Six Siege. It worked with titles such as World of Tanks and others. The company has raised $8.4 million to date and it has 20 people.
The company can create other types of games as overlays as well, said Casassovici.
“We have the ability to know what tis going on with the stream in real time so that we don’t interrupt the game,” Casassovici said. “When you’re in matchingmaking, it takes a few minutes and that’s the perfect moment to get the audience engaged. It’s something we have become really good at.”
The company is hiring and it hopes to hit 60 people by the end of the year.
“It’s really about keeping everything light, fun and enjoyable, not creating work,” said Casassovici.
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