Animoca Brands might be one of many greatest winners of the rising NFT market, inserting early bets on Dapper Labs, OpenSea, and Axie Infinity creator Sky Mavis earlier than every agency noticed surging success. Now, Animoca has greater than doubled its personal valuation with a brand new funding spherical simply months after the final one.
Today, the Hong Kong-based agency introduced a brand new $65 million funding spherical that values it at $2.2 billion—a pointy improve from the $1 billion valuation when the corporate final raised cash in July. Earlier this yr, Animoca pulled in $138.88 million throughout two funding tranches from buyers together with Coinbase Ventures and Samsung. Why elevate extra money now?
Yat Siu, govt chairman of Animoca Brands, advised Decrypt that it wasn’t in regards to the cash. The agency noticed further curiosity from potential buyers who didn’t understand Animoca was elevating funds, he stated, and Animoca noticed a chance to forge alliances with main gamers within the conventional gaming house—corresponding to Ubisoft and cellular writer Com2us.
“While it was a slight premium to our last valuation, it wasn’t about the valuation. It was about bringing people in and forging new alliances with the right kind of parties,” stated Siu. “I can definitely assure investors that we haven’t spent it all yet,” he added with amusing.
Out of all the main conventional online game publishers, Ubisoft is already by far the most active in the crypto space. The Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance writer has supported an array of crypto gaming initiatives, together with Axie Infinity and Nine Chronicles, in addition to incubated startups in its Entrepreneurs Lab program and launched its personal experimental NFT projects.
Investing in Animoca Brands, Siu stated, sees the gaming large going “past the flirting stage” and “pulling the trigger for the first time.” He stated that Animoca will work with Ubisoft and Com2us on future NFT-centric initiatives, and that he believes this would be the begin of extra energetic funding from Ubisoft within the crypto house.
“I think that this won’t be their last investment, which is positive as well, because it means that they’re now wanting to see more things and grow the space,” stated Siu. “The powerful thing is the signal to other established players, as well. They’re going to go, ‘Wait, Ubisoft is looking at this? Now I need to start taking this seriously.’”
Siu’s assertion echoes recent comments from Amy Wu, companion at Lightspeed Venture Partners, who tweeted that “every major gaming publisher is exploring blockchain.” She stated that the latest surge in curiosity round Ethereum-based sport Axie Infinity, which has generated greater than $2.5 billion worth of NFT trading volume, “lit a fire” below sport makers.
Ubisoft has a large headstart over its contemporaries in exploring the blockchain gaming house, besides, Animoca is the sport writer’s first disclosed direct funding in a crypto agency. Other buyers in Animoca’s $65 million spherical embrace Sequoia China, Liberty City Ventures, Dragonfly Capital, and Tron founder Justin Sun.
Animoca Brands has now invested in additional than 100 firms and is nonetheless actively pursuing additional investments, Siu stated, together with in verticals past gaming.
I’m getting into the #metaverse with @TheSandboxGame !! #TSBxSnoopDogg #NFT https://t.co/DZvSV4NNSc pic.twitter.com/zoa87iDhRl
— Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) September 23, 2021
Other Animoca investments embrace Solana-based NFT avatar/gaming initiatives Star Atlas and Aurory, in addition to comedy NFT marketplace Jambb and social token app Calaxy.
Animoca is additionally the writer of upcoming metaverse sport The Sandbox—which just lately introduced a collaboration with rapper and NFT enthusiast Snoop Dogg—together with F1 Delta Time and different blockchain-driven video games.