Metaverse payment platform Tilia raises $22m from J.P. Morgan, Dunamu

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Tilia, the payment platform initially built for gaming and virtual world publishers, announced Tuesday that it had raised $22 million in strategic investment from J.P. Morgan Payments and South Korean-based fintech company Dunamu.

With this new investment, Tilia aims to provide easy and regulated payments and transactions for anyone in the digital economy. It will use the funding to expand the team and build new partnerships, with its payment products powering millions of transactions.

Following the company’s successful funding round, Tilia appointed Catherine Porter as its first chief business officer (CBO).

Porter previously managed global partnerships and fintech innovation at Meta. She was also responsible for developing the Diem ecosystem — Meta’s blockchain-based stablecoin payment system — and the traditional payment ecosystem for all Meta products globally.

“Today, the way people transact has evolved,” Porter said in an interview with TechCrunch.

“The rise of user-generated content (UGC) across gaming worlds, social platforms and beyond means that we need a way for users to pay other users, users to pay creators and creators to pay their collaborators — even if you don’t know the real identity of the person you’re paying.”

Catherine Porter, Tilia CBO

This new payment model by Tilia differs from the conventional online payment system built for one-way transactions between merchants and users. Porter noted that seamlessly transferring money “between physical and digital life was game-changing.”

Tilia’s expansion plans

Linden Lab launched Tilia in 2019, allowing users to purchase Linden Dollars for transactions within Second Life.

Regulations came into play when the payment platform gained momentum, forcing businesses in the U.S. to obtain money transmitter licenses (MTLs). However, instead of closing down, Tilia dedicated seven years and spent $35 million to obtain the required licenses.

“We are working with J.P. Morgan Payments to enhance its current capabilities throughout its processing platform, including providing increased payment and payout methods, expanding payout currencies and support services.”

Catherine Porter, Tilia CBO

Tilia plans to use the funds to expand its team — which currently has over 70 members — to meet the business’ rising demands and further scale its platform. Furthermore, the company plans to build new partnerships across all the verticals it serves with the funding.

Regarding payment products, Porter mentioned that Tilia offers an individual option and a fully integrated end-to-end solution. The company did not disclose the number of active users on its payment platform, but it claimed that it is “powering millions of transactions, including Second Life’s $650 million economy.”

Tilia’s new executives

In addition to securing financing, Tilia announced the appointment of its new CEO, Brad Oberwager.

Oberwager previously served as executive chair at Tilia and led several tech and consumer-focused companies such as, Blue Tiger Network and Bare Snacks.

“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.”

Brad Oberwager, Tilia CEO

He added that there is a significant opportunity at Tilia to open up new revenue streams for online creators and the platforms they develop, including gaming worlds, social platforms or next-generation marketplaces.

The company also named Aston Waldman its chief financial officer (CFO). With over a decade of senior management experience at Silicon Valley gaming and virtual world companies, Waldman oversees all financial matters of Linden Research, Inc., Tilia’s parent company.

Waldman started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, working with clients like Chevron, URS and SunPower. Before joining Linden and Tilia, Waldman was the corporate controller at Trion Worlds, Inc.

Silicon Valley Bank

Silicon Valley Bank was a commercial bank headquartered in Santa Clara, California. (wikipedia)

Linden Lab

Linden Research, Inc., doing business as Linden Lab, is an American technology company that is best known as the creator of Second Life. The company’s head office is in San Francisco, (wikipedia)


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