Yuga Labs, the tech startup behind NFT empire the Bored Ape Yacht Club and their serum-ingesting mutant counterparts, has announced a $450 million funding round to help fuel rapid growth plans that include a new metaverse gaming project.
The funding round — which values the company at $4 billion — was led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z crypto), with assists from dozens more including Animoca Brands, FTX Ventures, Google Ventures, Liontree, Sandbox and Sound Ventures, along with Colin Kaepernick, Snoop Dogg, Gunna, Timbaland, Steve Aoki and others.
The company said the fresh funds will be used to scale and grow its staff, currently 40-plus people, and for various joint ventures and partnerships it has planned.
Last week, Yuga Labs announced a metaverse online role-playing game called Otherside that will be powered by its own crypto currency ApeCoin. It also recently acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs, meaning it now controls three of the most lucrative NFT collections in the market.
“Already, a new economy is possible with the IP of Apes, Punks, and Meebits, owned by the community,” said Nicole Muniz, CEO of Yuga Labs. “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.”
a16z crypto general partner Chris Lyons added that “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.”
Yuga is best known for launching the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10,000 NFTs living on the Ethereum blockchain. It has also launched companion NFTs including the Mutant Ape Yacht Club and the Bored Ape Kennel Club, the latter basically being pets for the apes. One of those NFT apes was recently purchased by UMG and hired as the manager of a metaverse band whose members include three bored and one mutant apes.