- Everyrealm raised $60 million, one of the largest Series A rounds led by a female CEO.
- Janine Yorio was investing in real estate for hotels before finding metaverse opportunities.
- “Like a happy accident,” she told Insider about her career, “one thing led to another.”
“It was just one of those things,” Janine Yorio, the CEO of a startup called Everyrealm, told Insider only hours after closing a $60 million Series A funding round last week.
“Like a happy accident,” she added, “one thing led to another.”
Yorio was talking about her journey to this moment, when she made Everyrealm’s Series A round one of the largest led by a female CEO.
“It should be quite natural that there are women in leadership roles, even in male-dominated industries like crypto and gaming,” Yorio said. “But there aren’t.”
That didn’t stop her.
“I’ve always been in male-dominated industries,” she said. Before founding Everyrealm, she worked in investment banking, private equity, and real estate for hotels and agriculture.
She got into startups by founding a crowdfunded real-estate-investing platform, Compound, which she sold to the equity-crowdfunding company Republic in June 2020 for an undisclosed sum. The 3-year-old startup had raised $3.5 million and was valued at $8 million, according to PitchBook.
She worked at Republic for nearly two years. During that time, she saw the potential for digital real estate in the metaverse.
She’s not alone. Even the outspoken tech skeptic Scott Galloway (a New York University professor who famously referred to WeWork as “WeWTF“) has said virtual real estate “will likely attract more users than it will repel” and he plans to invest in it.
Still, Yorio’s core belief regarding the metaverse, inspired by her background in hotel development, is that it’s interesting only if there are interesting things to do in it.
In April, while at Republic, she formed a virtual-real-estate unit called Republic Realm, and four months later, that team acquired and started developing land in Decentraland, a decentralized virtual world where users vote on how the land is used. Last year, the team created Fantasy Islands, the first ultraluxury interactive virtual real-estate development of 100 islands, and a nonfungible-token yacht that sold for $650,000.
Republic Realm also ran a crowdfunding campaign on Republic, where nearly 16,000 people committed $70 million. (The campaign has now filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission.)
“There was so much more we could do,” Yorio said. “So we decided to build an entire company.”
Realm was spun out of Republic in October. By December, the startup team had grown to 34 people, and she had received four term sheets to raise a Series A seed round, all of them inbound.
“We didn’t really have to shop around. Basically, all came to us,” she said.
In February, the company announced its Series A and its new name: Everyrealm.
The round was oversubscribed, she said, meaning that more investors wanted to buy stock in her young company than she was prepared to sell. And that brought a new set of challenges.
“I was not familiar with people being angry that they don’t get an allocation,” she said. “That’s a different dynamic than I’ve ever had before.”
All told, 41 investors got shares, she said, from notable venture-capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, NGC Ventures, and Lightspeed, to celebrities and rappers like Paris Hilton, Gene Simmons, Lil Baby, and Gunna, as well as people and companies in gaming like Mark Pincus at Zynga, Sebastien Borget at Sandbox, Animoca Brands, and producers like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Lauren Selig.
Yorio said investors were interested in her company because it solved three problems. It helps those who want a piece of virtual property but don’t know how to get it, companies who want access but don’t know how to build it, content creators and celebrities who want to create in the metaverse but don’t know what to do.
She believes that the market understands that the technology needed for the metaverse is complicated, and she intends Everyrealm to be a leader, she said. But for now, she said her job was to “keep calm and keep navigating forward.”