Yuga Labs just announced raising $450 million in funding, bringing the Web3 company to a total valuation of $4 billion. Miami-based Yuga labs is the creator behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection and the new owner of CryptoPunks and Meebits brands. Led by VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, this was the company’s first institutional investment, which is also the largest seed round for any NFT collection to date.
Other investors include big names like Animoca Brands, Coinbase, MoonPay, FTX, LionTree, Sound Ventures, and Thrive Capital. The BAYC team plans to use the funds to create their own NFT empire. In addition, a portion of the funds will be allocated for scaling up the team, attracting more creative, engineering, and operations talent, as well as upcoming partnerships and joint ventures.
On Friday, the BAYC team teased a video promoting Otherside, an NFT MMORPG, where players can use their NFTs as playable characters. According to BAYC co-founder Wylie Aronow, the team plans to make an interoperable, fully gamified, and decentralized world. “We think the real Ready Player One experience will be player-run,” added the co-founder.
CEO Nicole Muniz stated that Yuga Labs has partnered with a few different game studios to make Otherside a reality. Otherside will be inclusive to NFTs beyond those managed by Yuga Labs. “We’re opening the doors to effectively a walled garden and saying ‘Everybody’s welcome,’” Nicole said in an interview with The Verge. As of yet, Yuga Labs didn’t provide any timeline for the Otherside release, but you can check out their leaked pitch deck here.
Metaverse projects have been taking over the NFT space lately. With projects like The Sandbox and Decentraland booming with celebrity endorsements and partnerships, many companies have jumped in to create their metaverse. However, Yuga Labs feels that all the metaverse developers have the wrong idea about a metaverse. The company wants to focus on building a single metaverse where multiple communities can participate together.
According to Yuga Labs co-founder Greg Solano, people don’t bond over spending time in the virtual space with nothing to do. Instead, according to him, people bond when they need to collaborate. “You only play with people and make friends because you are getting your ass kicked,” he added, “Basically, we don’t think deep social experience comes from essentially a Zoom chat and walking around saying hi.”
The announcement came just weeks after Yuga Labs acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. The acquisition made three of the best generative NFT projects come under the same roof. In addition, Yuga Labs also launched the ApeCoin, the primary currency of the upcoming BAYC projects. The digital asset developed and launched independently by ApeCoin decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) experienced wild volatility in its first few hours of listing. In fact, the fluctuating token price also affected the average cost of Bored Ape Yacht Club and its spin-offs.