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Latest Lazard Australia News

Solchicks founder rattles $US100m tin for new crypto project

Jul 12, 2022

Share Crypto founder and former private equity dealmaker William Wu has hired Lazard Australia to start shopping his new project to high-profile crypto investors. And Wu’s not afraid to swing hard. The pitch deck for Catheon Gaming, a kind of ‘Steam’ for blockchain-based games, has already raised eyebrows with its capital raising target between $US100 million and $US200 million. Catheon’s audacious fundraising target is being scrutinised by Australia’s largest venture capital funds and a few select crypto-specific investors. TANYA LAKE Despite cratering crypto markets , in which the overheated NFT market has turned ice-cold , Wu, who spent four years at in the investments team at alternatives giant Oaktree Capital Management, is determined to build a digital game storefront for blockchain-based games. The idea is web3 games, or games that feature non-fungible-tokens that players can trade and earn real money from, need a digital shop where players can download the latest games and updates. In traditional gaming circles, Steam has taken the title of the best video game distribution platform for nearly twenty years. Steam’s parent company Valve was valued at $US7.7 billion in May. Advertisement According to the purple teaser pitch deck, Catheon has already lined up 37 games for distribution, including Wu’s other crypto-based game Solchicks (which raised $US77 million last year in a token sale and boasts 113 investors on its website). Moving video games to the blockchain Aside from the blockchain-based gaming shop, Catheon also wants to build an advisory studio that helps traditional games “blockchain themselves”. A process, Wu reckons, takes between three and four months. Most recently, Catheon landed a big fish in Mark Aubrey. Aubrey, who built a plum gaming career at Activision Blizzard as the MD and head of APAC, joins Catheon as co-CEO. In terms of financials, Catheon is deep in the crypto-weeds. Over the last nine months the pitch deck says Catheon banked $US88 million from token vesting and $US63 million in cash. It boasts a 95 per cent EBITDA margin and 89 per cent cash conversion. It says it doesn’t capitalise any costs. While capital costs might be $0, the operations are substantial: Catheon Gaming already has 94 core employees, 106 community team members, 8 strategic advisors and has partnered with 19 game studios. Advertisement While Catheon’s big audacious goal being considered by Australia’s largest venture capital funds and a few select crypto-specific investors, Wu has to shake off some negative internet press that has dogged his footsteps these last twelve months. Wu’s internet ghosts Wu was caught up in “meme coin mania” after discovering crypto last April. As the pointless Dogecoin dominated headlines , Wu launched CatzCoin, a token that promised 5 per cent of all earnings would support cats finding shelters. The coin largely failed and it doesn’t sound like any cats were saved. Wu’s second project was HoneyX, a kind of crypto-based OnlyFans, a US-based content creation platform that largely features adult-only material. For a brief period last year, OnlyFans banned adult content from its platform, prompting Wu to try and seize the market opportunity with HoneyX. Advertisement But once the US giant realised its revenue would effectively slump to zero without the sex workers and pornstars, it reversed its decision and HoneyX fell away. This all happened in the space of six months, before Wu launched Solchicks, the crypto-based game that is due for widespread release later this year. Jessica Sier writes on technology, internet culture, cryptocurrencies and software from our Sydney newsroom. She has previously covered global capital markets and economics. Connect with Jessica on Twitter . Email Jessica at jessica.sier@afr.com Sarah Thompson has co-edited Street Talk since 2009, specialising in private equity, investment banking, M&A and equity capital markets stories. Prior to that, she spent 10 years in London as a markets and M&A reporter at Bloomberg and Dow Jones. Email Sarah at sarah.thompson@afr.com Kanika Sood is a journalist based in Sydney who writes for the Street Talk column. Email Kanika at kanika.sood@afr.com.au Anthony Macdonald co-edits Street Talk, specialising in private equity, investment banking, M&A and equity capital markets. He has 10 years' experience as a business journalist and worked at PwC, auditing and advising financial services companies. Connect with Anthony on Twitter . Email Anthony at a.macdonald@afr.com Save

Lazard Australia Acquisitions

2 Acquisitions

Lazard Australia acquired 2 companies. Their latest acquisition was O'Sullivan Partners on September 11, 2012.

Date

Investment Stage

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Total Funding

Note

Sources

9/11/2012

$99M

Acquired

3/27/2012

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$99M

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0

Date

9/11/2012

3/27/2012

Investment Stage

Companies

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Valuation

$99M

$99M

Total Funding

Note

Acquired

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Sources

0

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