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Metaverse VC Roundup: PROOF Collective, OneFootball, Dragonfly Capital

Boardroom’s latest metaverse VC roundup includes funding deals from more than 10 companies in the Web3, gaming, and crypto industries.

Crypto-focused venture capital firm Dragonfly Capital raised $650 million for its third venture fund.

The firm raised $100 million for its first fund in 2018 and $225 million for its second fund in 2021. Dragonfly’s third fund doubles what it has raised in the past, reinforcing its steadfast commitment to investing in blockchain and Web3 companies. Since its inception in 2018, the investment firm has invested in more than 60 crypto tech startups, including data firm Dune Analytics and metaverse realtor Everyrealm.

“So much is going to change over the next five years. The next generation of startup founders are now emigrating from Web2,” Haseeb Qureshi, managing partner at Dragonfly, wrote in a blog post. “There’s so, so much to build, and with our Fund III, we’re better equipped to back founders all along their journey, from seed to Series B and beyond.”

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Dragonfly’s commitment to invest in crypto startups is another example of the industry’s continued growth.

Another example would be Apollo Global Management, a large private equity investment firm, which recently hired former JPMorgan executive Christine Moy to lead its digital assets strategy. The investment giant is eager to start dishing out $50 million to $250 million venture capital investments in Web3 and blockchain startups.

Here are more than 10 funding deals you should know about since our last roundup.

OneFootball: $300M Series D for Expansion

Berlin-based soccer gaming and media company OneFootball closed a $300 million Series D led by Liberty City Ventures.

The round also included investments from Animoca Brands and NBA Top Shot creator Dapper Labs. OneFootball is using the funds to expand, invest in  Web3 companies, and launch a joint venture called OneFootball Labs with Animoca Brands and Liberty City Ventures. AnimocaBrands co-founder and executive chairman Yat Siu joined the OneFootball and OneFootball Labs boards.

“Over the last year, the sporting universe has made progress in harnessing the potential of NFTs and gaming, offering fans new digital experiences based on the important principles of true digital ownership and decentralization,” Siu in a statement to The Block.

Mueshi: $3.3M in Seed Funding to Build its Fine Art NFT Marketplace

Miami-based Mueshi raised a $3.3 million seed led by Harlem Capital.

The company is building a marketplace for users to buy, sell, and fractionally invest in fine art NFTs. Mueshi’s mission is to empower traditional artists striving to thrive in the metaverse and new digital age. The company was founded by Ariana Waller — better known as Ariana The Techie — who serves as CEO now and was named one of Boardroom’s coolest Black women in Web3.

Mueshi is using its first major funding investment to continue building out its flagship marketplace that will operate on the Ethereum and Solana blockchains. The company is collaborating with brands to launch a series of NFT collections throughout the year that will also offer IRL and virtual experiences.

“I am excited for the journey ahead of how Mueshi will change the lives of artists, bring never before seen opportunities to museums and galleries, and offer NFTs with real-world utility for NFT degens and traditional art collectors,” Ariana The Techie said in a statement. “At Mueshi, we believe in the possible. Today not only is a special day because of our round announcement, but it also marks exactly 365 days from when I first moved to the city of Miami with only $250 to my name and a dream of “making it.” 

Aside from building its marketplace, Mueshi is producing a 30-day fine art NFT exhibition in Miami that will showcase work from emerging artists.

PROOF Collective: $10M for Further NFT Adventures

PROOF Collective raised $10 million from Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six VC firm. PROOF’s founder Kevin Rose said the company wasn’t looking to raise outside funding, but it couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work with Ohanian, also known as the co-founder of Reddit.

The funding comes after PROOF launched in December 2021 and released its first NFT collection, Moonbirds. The company announced the funding news on April 25, roughly a week after releasing the Moonbirds NFT collection. PROOF will use the fresh funding to release other NFT collections and expand in the Web3 industry.

Mad Realities: $6M to Develop a Crypto Dating Show

Mad Realities raised $6 million to create a crypto-focused dating show. The investment round was led by Paradigm and included participation from Paris Hilton’s 11:11 Media and a portfolio of individual Web3 investors.

Mad Realities is on a mission to become Web3’s answer to Netflix by building an audience-owned television platform; the company has used NFTs to fund the launch of an interactive reality TV dating show called Proof of Love. Mad Realities reports that the show attracted more than 1,500 members and brought in over 172 ETH (roughly $464,000) from its mint for interactive passes.

The company releases new episodes on YouTube. During the show’s finale on May 1, Mad Realities let viewers vote for the winning couple to be awarded 4.20 ETH (~$11,000).

Mad Realities will use its new investment to expand its core team and build its community. The company is specifically looking to hire more engineers to build the tech platform that will support its crypto dating show.

0x Labs: $70M Series B to Expand its Web3 Products and Service Offerings

San Francisco-based 0x Labs, a Web3 company building an infrastructure for decentralized crypto exchanges, closed a $70 million Series B funding round led by Greylock. The company is using the funding for hiring and expanding its Web3 products and service offerings.

0x’s Series B also included participation from Sound Ventures, OpenSea, Coinbase, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and actor Jared Leto.

“0x Labs helps businesses eliminate the complexity of accessing decentralized markets across all layers of the Web3 exchange stack. We provide solutions that make it easy for app developers to incorporate exchange functionality and deliver the best selection of tokens at the best prices to their users,” said Amir Bandeali, co-founder and co-CEO of 0x Labs, in a statement. “By using 0x technology, businesses will have more time to focus on what matters: their product.”

0x has raised an estimated $109 million since its inception in 2016, including a $15 million Series A in 2021 and $24 million from its ZRX token sale in 2017. ZRX is the Ethereum token used to power 0x’s protocol.

More Deals

This list is a testament to the belief investors are putting into the web3 community. We can’t cover them all, but check out these companies that announced funding deals in the past two weeks.

  • Team Liquid and its parent company, aXiomatic, closed a $35 million financing round. The new funding bumps Team Liquid’s value up to an estimated $415 million, making it one of the most valuable international esports gaming companies on the market.
  • The MetaKey, a web3 utility creator, raised a $3.5 million seed. The round included investments from Animoca Brands, WhaleShark, B3V, and Spartan Group.
  • Revise raised $3.5 million to build software for programmable NFTs.
  • NFT jersey startup Fancurve closed a $6.25 million seed round led by Greenfield One. The round included participation from 6th Man Ventures, OneFootball, and Shima Capital.
  • Nigerian-based Afriex, a blockchain-based money transfer startup, closed a $10 million Series A led by Sequoia Capital China and Dragonfly Capital.
  • SNACKCLUB, a company launched by a Brazilian esports organization called LOUD, secured $9 million to develop a gaming DAO. The round included an investment from Animoca Brands.
  • A play-to-earn NFT God-themed game, Apeiron, closed a $10 million seed. The round included investments from Morningstar Ventures, Spartan Group, and DeFi Capital. 
  • Venly, a Belgium-based crypto wallet firm, raised $23 million in Series A funding. The company will use a portion of the funds to launch an accelerator program.
  • NFT marketplace Zora closed a $50 million seed round with investments from Haun Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and Kindred Ventures.
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