Five Jack, the makers of online gaming marketplace itemku, has raised $225,000 in funding from leading seed stage venture capital firm, 500 Startups. 500 Startups’ two Asia-focused funds, 500 Durians and 500 Kimchi, participated in this round.
With the funding, Five Jack will look at expanding to south east Asia, recruiting new talent and “powering up” the current team, especially in the marketing and operation divisions.
itemku, launched in July 2014 as a price comparison and classified ads platform, later re-positioned itself in June 2015 into purveyors of game items and currency in response to the growing problem of secure trading among gamers.
Today, itemku is a fast-growing marketplace for secure in-game transactions, with a money-back guaranteed service. It claims its visitor and transaction numbers have grown eight-fold till now.
“A proven business model executed by an experienced team in one of the largest growing markets, and owning it! This is the kind of stuff investors like me are humbled to be part of,” affirms Khailee Ng, General Partner of 500 Durians.
According to Denis Kim, CEO of Five Jack, the funding from 500 Startups will be a huge boost to the company, which plans to launch an English version and expand throughout Southeast Asia this year.
itemku, Kim believes, is the solution to massive demand for a safe and easy-to-use marketplace for gamers in Indonesia – which he estimates will transact around $1 billion in 5 years.
He added, sellers on itemku are already taking in over Rp20 million ($1,439) per month simply by trading the items he gains during his regular gameplay. Before discovering itemku, sellers used public forums and social media to advertise their items.
For buyers, seeking out reputable sellers through public forums and social media isn’t only time-consuming; it comes with the risk of fraud or scamming. Since itemku categorises the games, buyers can find sellers easily, rate them, and complete a secure financial transaction with a money-back guaranteed service. Some buyers have undertaken transactions worth over 3 million Rupiahs for single pieces of virtual items. Such cases highlight the success of itemku’s branding image and trust, Kim says.
“Indonesia’s eSports market is similar to how Chinese and Korean markets were in its earlier years. itemku’s growth in the past few months speak for themselves,” says Tim Chae, General Partner, 500 Kimchi, in a press statement.