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Digital economy and metaverse payments firm Tilia has raised $22 million to power payments for digital economies in games and, perhaps one day, the metaverse.
The company, which is owned by Linden Research, also appointed Brad Oberwager, previously executive chairman, as CEO and Catherine Porter as the company’s first chief business officer. The funding comes from Seoul, South Korea-based fintech leader Dunamu, which is joining existing investor J.P. Morgan Payments.
Tilia got its start at Linden Lab’s Second Life, where it fueled transactions for the virtual world. Now it has ambitions to be the payment platform for the metaverse.
The investment will help Tilia to further scale its platform and address the growing market need for trusted, dynamic payments in online games, creator platforms, social commerce and other digital social worlds.
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Oberwager is a seasoned entrepreneur with a successful track record founding and leading multiple technology and consumer-focused companies, including More.com (acquired by HealthCentral in 2000), Blue Tiger Network (acquired by CarParts Technologies in 2003) and Bare Snacks (acquired by PepsiCo in 2018).
Over the past two years, Oberwager has served as executive chair at Tilia, and in his expanded role as CEO, he will leverage his knowledge of Tilia’s business alongside his decades of company-building experience to guide the company through its next phase of growth.
In addition to his role at Tilia, Oberwager will continue to serve as Executive Chairman at Linden Research, Inc. With Oberwager as CEO, Tilia has appointed Aston Waldman as chief financial officer. Waldman was previously acting CEO of Tilia and CFO.
“Today’s payments infrastructure was built for traditional commerce – it hasn’t caught up with the new way of living and working in a digital, creator-driven economy,” said Oberwager, in a statement. “At
Tilia, we have a massive opportunity to unlock new revenue streams for both online creators and the platforms they build in, whether they are gaming worlds, social platforms, or next-generation marketplaces. As I take the helm at Tilia, my focus will be on providing a payments system that enables these expanding digital economies.”
Joining Oberwager on Tilia’s executive team, Porter brings more than two decades of experience leading strategy, sales, marketing, and business development for consumer and enterprise technology companies. Before joining Tilia, Porter led global partnerships and fintech innovation at Meta, including building the Diem ecosystem in partnership with other Diem members and building the traditional payments ecosystem for all Meta products worldwide. Porter said in an interview with GamesBeat she started talking to Oberwager about the job last year, but she officially came on board in January.
While at Meta, she said, ” I ran all of the payments ecosystem through partnerships or so across all the apps.”
She has also worked at other category-leading companies including OpenTable, LinkedIn, Google,
and Oracle. As Chief Business Officer at Tilia, Porter will be responsible for leading business and corporate development, licensing efforts, strategic planning and team growth.
“I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is to build payments networks, even at the biggest global tech
companies,” said Porter. “I joined Tilia because it has the track record, the technology, and the regulatory expertise necessary to create a trusted and safe financial system for every online economy, and we have only scratched the surface of what’s possible.”
“What really excited me about Tilia from the beginning was that I had spent five years at Meta thinking about what a global currency stablecoin does for rapid settlement for faster payment to creators and lowering the cost of processing so that you can incentivize them,” Porter said. “We took the position that you could do that with crypto and the blockchain. And then what I found really compelling about Tilia was that you can do all of that today, the way that Tilia is built.”
She said Tilia has the foundation with regulators to legally transfer money for online transactions via money transmitter licenses. And that can be used to help build a greater digital economy, either through creators who are reaping the benefits of the creator economy or through game economy transactions. Tilia can handle all of that today, and it is positioned to handle transactions for the metaverse in the future, whenever that comes to pass, Porter said.
“Those pieces got me really excited to go build for creators, like I’ve always been doing in my career, and do it today, rather than having to wait for technology” to catch up, Porter said.
Tilia has become a standalone company with its own customers.
“Tilia is uniquely positioned,” Porter said. “I’m excited to be joining.”
Scaling to meet the needs of the digital economy
The new funding comes amid growing demand for Tilia’s payments engine, which is designed to adapt to the needs of any digital economy, and unlock new forms of monetization for creator and social-driven platforms. It addresses:
- UGC creator payments – Tilia’s infrastructure powers user-generated content transactions and microtransactions, allowing direct payouts to creators and their collaborators. Pathways to monetize UGC are made possible through Tilia, with profits distributed easily and efficiently.
- Minting and managing virtual tokens – Tilia mints branded tokens that are U.S. compliant and have a fixed conversion rate to fiat currency. This unlocks the ability for users and creators to buy and sell digital goods and services, which have the potential to be portable across platforms in the future without worrying about functionality or regulation.
- Secure, pseudonymous transactions – Tilia’s platform bridges the digital and physical worlds, enabling KYC-compliant transactions while allowing users to operate under their online identities and avatars. This approach uniquely enables thousands of trusted transactions every day while protecting user identity.
“With Tilia, community members who download user-generated content can directly support their favorite creators, further accelerating the shift towards player-led innovation and economies,” said Scott Reismanis, CEO of Mod.io, a user-generated content platform for game studios that leverages Tilia to give its users seamless options.
Tilia has more than 70 employees.
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