TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENTS

Metaverse VC Roundup: Planetarium Labs Secures $32M

Boardroom’s latest metaverse VC roundup also includes fundraising updates from Zigazoo, Dynamic, and Cryptoys.

The flow of venture capital into crypto companies has slowed by 42% compared to this time last year, according to Dove Metrics. Startups focused on work across the NFT and gaming finance industries, however, are reeling in about a fifth of the total VC in the Web3 industry, led by a few notable investments from the past week.

Here are some of the top venture capital deals to hit the world of Web3 so far this month.

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Planetarium Labs: $32M to Pioneer Next Age of Community Games

Community-driven blockchain gaming company Planetarium Labs closed a $32 million Series A funding round led by Animoca Brands. The gaming startup is creating a blockchain-based gaming ecosystem powered by its players.

Planetarium Labs will use the fresh funding to improve its gaming ecosystem, build out fundamental tools to run its community-driven gaming system, and launch initiatives including an ecosystem fund and related support programs. Krust Universe, Wemade, and Samsung Next also invested in the Series A round.

“The future of gaming is moving in a direction where the players and the community collaborate on a shared vision, and we are delighted to onboard our partners to realize together our vision of games owned and shaped by the community,” said Planetarium Labs Co-CEOs Jaesuk Kim and Kijun Seo in a joint statement. “We are sending our invites to creators and players to build and share their own unprecedented, decentralized gaming experiences.”

Zigazoo: $17M to Embark on Web3 Ventures

Zigazoo, a social networking app and NFT education platform for kids, closed a $17 million funding round to advance its Web3 plans. Liberty City Ventures led the investment round with participation from Causeway, the NBA, Dapper Labs, OneFootball, Medici VC, Animoca Brands, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Zigazoo founder and CEO Zak Ringelstein told CoinDesk that the funding will be used to build out the company’s Web3 offerings, launch another NFT collection, and increase its in-app utilities, including creating a fan club experience. Eventually, Zigazoo will launch a creator studio that allows young users to market their NFTs and digital goods.

During NFT.NYC, Zigazoo teamed up with Nyla Hayes, creator of the Long Neckie Ladies NFT collection, to host an event for young NFT enthusiasts. The company is looking to launch more partnerships like that.

“The future of Web3 will be shaped by the children of today, as their creativity expands the range of what is possible,” said Liberty City Ventures founding partner Emil Woods in an official release. “Zigazoo is building a fun child-friendly platform where the creators of tomorrow can engage, explore and experiment.”

Dynamic: $7.5M to Build Web3 Authentication Tools

Dynamic, a Web3 authentication tools developer, raised $7.5 million in a seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Castle Island Ventures, Solana Ventures, Circle Ventures, Breyer Capital, Hypersphere, and Chapter One also participated in the round.

The company was founded in December 2021 by Itai Turbahn and Yoni Goldberg, two friends who first connected at MIT over a decade ago. With a team of eight, the founding duo plan to use the capital to expand Dynamic’s team and flagship platform.

“We really fundamentally believe that everyone will have a wallet on their phone or computer in the next five years,” Turbahn told The Block. “The speed at which wallets will be integrated into someone’s daily lives will increase exponentially. So we’re prepping for that world.”

Cryptoys: $23M to build a Cryptoverse

NFT gaming platform Cryptoys and its parent company, OnChain Studios, closed a $23 million Series A led by a16z. The round also included investments from Mattel, Dapper Labs, Draper & Associates, Acrew Capital, CoinFund, Animoca Brands, and Sound Ventures.

Cryptoys will use the funding to develop an NFT-focused gaming ecosystem, dubbed the “Cryptoverse,” that will let users indulge in play-to-earn games and interact with digital collectibles. The company is also working on an original animated series as part of a strategy to reel in a younger audience.

This funding news comes after Cryptoys locked in a partnership with legacy toymaker Mattel to develop its digital offerings and give new life to some classic toys in the Web3 realm. Iconic brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels could make an appearance in Cryptoys’ universe via purchasable avatars as part of the venture.

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