Yuga Labs, owner of the three biggest NFT brands on the market including the Bored Ape Yacht Club, announced on Tuesday that it has raised a $450 million seed round led by a16z crypto, Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund. It is now valued at $4 billion.
Metaverse gaming company Animoca and its subsidiary, The Sandbox, crypto exchange FTX, Miami-based crypto fintech MoonPay, Liontree, Sound Ventures, Thrive Capital and Seven Seven Six also participated in the latest round.
“Yuga Labs has quickly become a web3 culture, gaming, and entertainment empire. Mainstream adoption in web3 is accelerating at lightning speed, and Yuga is at the forefront of merging culture and innovation for everyone to enter the metaverse. We’re thrilled to invest in this brilliant team and their vision, and help forge the next frontier of community-owned entertainment,” said Chris Lyons, general partner at a16z crypto, said in a statement.“ Lyons will join the board of Yuga Labs.
Yuga Labs, based in Miami, plans to use the funds to build a media empire around NFTs, starting with games and its own metaverse project. Last Friday, the company revealed a glimpse of its metaverse project, called Otherside. Yuga Labs CEO NIcole Muniz told The Verge that the game won’t be limited to Bored Ape holders, and the company plans to create development tools that allow NFTs from other projects to work inside their world.
“Already, a new economy is possible with the IP of Apes, Punks, and Meebits, owned by the community,” said Muniz. “The possibilities for blockchain’s impact on culture are endless, and so we are building a beautiful, interoperable world for people to explore and play in. There’s a lot to come.”
The company, founded early last year, is already pulling down serious revenue. In a tweet, investor Joe Pompliano said Yuga Labs generated $138 million in revenue in 2021, with a net profit of $127 million — a 92% profit margin. A leaked pitch deck indicates similar results. In January the company had just 11 employees, Pompliano said.
The announcement comes just weeks after Yuga Labs acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs, giving Yuga Labs more IP to pull from for creating its gaming and metaverse plans. Last Week, Yuga Labs launched a crypto called, called AppCoin, which will be used as the currency in Yuga Labs’ properties.
The funding announced today is the largest seed round reported in this space.
Venture capital interest in all things crypto, blockchain and NFT exploded last year, particularly in Miami, where companies drew more than $800 million in venture capital in that space, nearly all of it in the second half of the year, led by MoonPay’s $555 million Series A. What’s more, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been on a crusade to build the Magic City into a crypto capital, and it’s working, with people like Lyons, Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano and Michael Arrington moving to the city, companies including MoonPay, Blockchain.com, OKcoin, Borderless Capital and others putting down stakes, the Bitcoin 2022 conference converging tens of thousands at the Miami Beach Convention Center in two weeks, and homegrown venture-funded startups sprouting up within the last year, such as QuickNode, OnChain Studios, Faraway, Mean DAO — and of course Yuga Labs.
“This capital will give Yuga speed to market on many things underway, and bring in new partners with strategic thinking that share the vision,” said Yuga Labs Partner Guy Oseary.
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at [email protected]
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