Disruption of traditional financial markets is one of the strongest crypto narratives, and it’s one that prePO plays right into. Stockhead spoke to the project’s founder, Xavier Ekkel, to learn more about it all – including the unique new NFT game Acquisition Royale.


Hi, Xavier. We highlighted prePO in our Apollo’s Moonshots segment recently, but for those who missed that, please tell us briefly what the project’s about.

Sure, prePO is a decentralised trading platform allowing anyone, anywhere, to gain exposure to any pre‑IPO company or pre‑token project. Our mission is to democratise pre-public equity – transforming a world of financial exclusion into a world of permissionless access.

So this means the average schmo can effectively speculate financially on companies at a super-early stage?

That’s right. prePO is democratising access to private markets, which means regular, retail investors will be able to get portfolio exposure to pre-public companies like SpaceX, Stripe, or Reddit, and pre-token crypto projects like MetaMask and OpenSea.

Average retail investors usually don’t have much hope of getting into early-investment opportunities, is that right?

Well, when it comes to private markets, retail investors are disproportionately excluded from participating in investment rounds. And this is because private companies raise funds in limited time windows, limited amounts and for a limited number of investors.

Getting access to private market opportunities is something which only the wealthy and well-connected have had access to – so this is changing the game entirely.

Is it lack of connections, lack of funds and maybe just a general lack of clout that’s keeping Joe Retail outside the Sick Gainz Early Investors club?  

It’s definitely a combination of all those things. All investors, including sophisticated and institutional investors, miss out on investment opportunities at some point. But retail investors naturally miss out a lot more given they generally have less capital to invest, don’t have the right connections, and don’t meet the minimum standards required.

prePO’s Australian founder, Xavier Ekkel. (Image supplied)


How does prePO work?

prePO markets are synthetic in nature, meaning they provide an entirely new market for investors and traders to speculate on the eventual public valuation of a company or crypto project.

So, because these markets are synthetic, they can be infinitely scaled, which means nobody is left out, enabling anyone from anywhere to go long or short on pre-public assets without limitation.

Got it, so it’s all about speculating on the valuation of companies before they publicly list…

Right. With prePO, you aren’t purchasing real stocks or tokens – you’re getting synthetic exposure to the upside (or downside) of an asset’s eventual public valuation.

Is prePO a DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation)? 

Yep, that’s right – prePO will be governed by the prePO DAO, with decisions driven by a global community of PPO token holders, who we call “Pregens”.

What will the prePO token, PPO, be used for? Can holders earn yield/rewards?

PPO token holders will be able to make and vote on proposals, including proposals for the creation and settlement of prePO markets, and can even be rewarded for doing so!

PPO will be distributed to those who actively use the platform, and you can boost those PPO rewards depending on how long you’re willing to timelock your PPO for. The aim here is to ensure that PPO tokens end up in the hands of those who are aligned with prePO’s long-term vision.

Source: prepo.io


A unique position in the market

So who or what is this model disrupting? Venture capitalists? Gordon Gekko types?

It’s disrupting exclusive private investment, and all secondary markets that exist around it.

And how does prePO differ then from other synthetic-asset protocols in crypto? 

Other synthetic-asset protocols only cover public assets, because they rely on a price feed to peg asset prices to. No reliable price feed exists for private assets.

So, with prePO, the assets aren’t tied to any price feed – instead, prePO governance feeds in a final settlement price when the asset goes public, and it’s pure speculation based on supply and demand before then.

Also, other synthetic-asset protocols require over-collateralisation in order to mint assets – meaning liquidity providers can be liquidated,  whereas in prePO, everything is fully-collateralised, meaning there is zero liquidation risk.

What other advantages does prePO bring to the table?

Since prePO is just self-running code on the blockchain, with support from a decentralised governance system, users will be able to enjoy dramatically lower fees and instant processing (rather than days or weeks), all the while remaining completely non-custodial and earning passive yield for all positions in the background – through yield farming. This is the power of DeFi [decentralised finance].

And of course, code on the blockchain is immutable and can be accessed from anywhere. By nature this means anyone can be a user of prePO.

Will you be first to market in the realm of pre-IPO synthetic investing?

Yeah, it’ll be the first DeFi platform focused on facilitating exposure to pre-IPO and pre-token assets. There are other synthetic asset platforms out there, such as for commodities and public equities, but none which focus on pre-public assets.

Do you see prePO as a project that could potentially thrive during another crypto bear market?

We would like to think so! We believe that regardless of the market conditions, prePO will be able to attract significant user interest as we provide the opportunity to go long or short on pre-public assets across various markets including private equity, crypto and eventually real estate – and who knows what else!


Acquisition Royale: NFT-fuelled, hostile-takeover fun

Getty Images

Tell us a bit about the gamification angle you’ve got going on – Acquisition Royale. It’s a play-to-earn NFT “battle royale” based around mergers and acquisitions? Sounds cool, sounds niche… 

It’s definitely unique, and there will be plenty of battling going on! The goal is to ensure your “Enterprise”, which is your NFT, survives and thrives. After founding your Enterprise, you’ll automatically earn Runway Points (RP) over time, which can be used to compete against and acquire other Enterprises, or protect your own one from acquisition.

So it’s, acquire and merge… or die? 

Yep, if your Enterprise gets acquired, you’re out of the game, but you can always rejoin by purchasing someone else’s Enterprise in a secondary market, or by winning one in community contests and giveaways. When you get acquired you’ll be compensated, though, as acquiring has a dynamic ETH cost (based on supply and demand), with most of that going towards the old owner.

So how do you thrive in Acquisition Royale? Should you get your greed on, like Gordon Gekko?

Basically, yeah! Strategically merging with and acquiring other Enterprises will help you earn RP at an even faster rate, setting you on the path towards corporate domination. RP can be used to perform the following gameplay actions: Merge, Compete, Acquire, Fundraise, Rename, Rebrand and Revive.


And where does the “earn” come in with the play-to-earn aspect? 

RP and Enterprises are fully-composable NFTs [non-fungible tokens], meaning they could be traded in secondary markets, facilitating an open on-chain economy – which is the play-to-earn element.

Have you partnered with anyone to deliver the game? Or is it a community-sourced and created project? 

We’re developing the game in-house. But the game itself will be driven by the community, who will help tweak the gameplay parameters, provide suggestions for the roadmap, and approve new sets of artwork that can represent the Enterprise NFTs in the game.

We even have the Acquisition Royale Grants Program, where we provide funding for creatives and builders in the community to extend upon or integrate with the game.


This NFT example here (shown above)… is this representative of an initial, basic visualisation of an Enterprise – for which the artwork could be potentially tweaked or evolved by the community? 

Exactly, the community has say over the direction we take things, including the artwork and how things are visualised.

Cool. And the game’s being built on Ethereum scaling solution Polygon?

Yep, we decided to go with Polygon because of its fast and “zero-gas” transactions, which is essential for a game involving many different actions. It’s also EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine)-compatible, which means we didn’t have to learn a new programming language to build it.

When’s Acquisition Royale launching? 

It’s TBA but it’ll launch not long after the “Founding” event, which is the creation stage for Enterprises. The Founding is currently underway, ending on November 12 – or as soon as the Enterprises are all snapped up.


Last things last…

Tell us a bit about yourself just briefly, and your crypto journey.

I’m originally from Australia, but now based permanently in Singapore. I used to be an experimental game developer – creating games that are intentionally non-conventional with the aim of pushing forward the medium as an artform.

In terms of the crypto industry, I’ve been following it since 2013, but more heavily since 2017 with Ethereum once you could build dApps on top of it. I’m also self-taught in Solidity [Ethereum’s programming language]. I picked up a bunch of software-engineering best practices and great work culture/processes from my time at Canva.

I decided to jump headfirst into building prePO to solve my own problem, and a problem I frequently saw amongst the people I knew – not being able to get exposure to private companies before they go public.

And what about the prePO team? Are they keeping things anonymous, in true DeFi/decentralised crypto fashion?

The team is globally distributed and fully remote. Some (but not all) members prefer to stay pseudononymous for privacy reasons.

Can you give us some timeframes for some of your big milestones coming up? When will investors be able to buy the PPO token? 

So we recently launched our Simulator, which we encourage people to check out on our website – this will give you a flavour of how prePO will look and feel when it goes live, and also how the mechanics work.

We’re aiming to launch our beta and our governance token all within the next few months – but timings are subject to change! We encourage anyone who is interested to join us in our Discord where they can keep up to date with all the developments and also receive daily rewards for participating and engaging with the community.

And finally, what else in crypto is  keeping you excited at the moment? 

I’m excited to see “GameFi” evolve – basically the intersection between DeFi and games. prePO will fall under this category with its gamification elements, but so will the growing number of games within the play-to-earn category.

I think the play-to-earn business model will gradually start to appear in certain types of non-crypto games as a way to create an open economy and give more power and control back to the players who are investing hours into these games.


You can learn more about prePO here, and Acquisition Royale here.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.

At the time of writing, the author is not invested in prePO but holds Bitcoin, Ethereum and several other digital assets.