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Metaverse VC Roundup: SwatchOn, Epic Games, & Genies

These seven metaverse and gaming companies raised billions of dollars in the past two weeks, including Epic Games’ investment from Sony and LEGO’s parent company KIRKBI

One thing metaverse venture capital raises are showing us is that the industry is expanding far beyond just owning things like NFTs and virtual land. The industry is mobilizing around Web3 and providing new experiences.

Take these funding raises as proof:

  • Web3 startup Afterparty closed a $4 million investment earlier this week.
  • Business metaverse solutions provider Mytaverse raised $7.6 million to build an enterprise metaverse platform.
  • Digital Insights Games launched with a $7.5 million Series A to build Web3 games.

But that’s not all.

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

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Epic Games: $2B to Build the Next Best Metaverse

Video game and software developer Epic Games raised $2 billion to continue building on its ambitious plans for the metaverse and cross-platform digital entertainment experiences. The round included investments from LEGO Group parent company KIRKBI and Sony Group Corporation. Each company invested $1 billion.

“As we reimagine the future of entertainment and play, we need partners who share our vision. We have found this in our partnership with Sony and KIRKBI,” said Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder of Epic Games, in an official release. “This investment will accelerate our work to build the metaverse and create spaces where players can have fun with friends, brands can build creative and immersive experiences, and creators can build a community and thrive.” 

Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president, and CEO of Sony Group Corporation, said in a press release that Sony’s technologies combined with Epic’s expertise would help accelerate his company’s efforts to develop digital sports fan experiences and other virtual production initiatives. KIRKBI CEO Søren Thorup Sørensen said this investment would accelerate the holding company’s engagement in digital gameplay.

Epic Games reports that its “post-money equity valuation is $31.5 billion.”

OpenBlox: $3M at a $30M valuation

Blockchain-based gaming platform OpenBlox raised a $3M seed round at a $30 million valuation.

The company is building a “one-stop” platform on the Ethereum and  Arbitrum blockchains and will be running a play-to-earn gaming system that utilizes NFT characters. OpenBlox’s seed round was led by Shima Capital with participation from 3Commas Capital, 100×100 Venture Capital, Digital Strategies, and MC Ventures. The company plans to put the fresh funding toward hiring, game design, and product and business development.

OpenBlox is gearing up to launch its first game later this year, with two more releases following soon after that. To differentiate itself from producing one-off non-fungible token sales, the company is doing something different to foster a loyal community. OpenBlox’s platform and its games will be based on the company’s inaugural NFT collection, which encompasses 7,998 genesis Blox NFTs. Similar to Axie Infinity’s business model, OpenBlox’s NFTs will have the ability to breed within its games.

Ahead of its game launches, OpenBlox has been dropping some sneak peeks.

SwatchOn: $10M to Revolutionize Digital Fashion

Seoul-based SwatchOn, an online wholesale fabric aggregator provider, raised $10 million to bring its fashion expertise to the digital realm. The round included investments from Pavilion Capital, Kakao Ventures, and TBT Partners.

SwatchOn launched in 2017 with a website that lets designers and creators search through over 200,000 textiles from 750 suppliers worldwide. The company has worked with more than 17,000 brands across the globe. SwatchOn wants to launch new initiatives focused on “revolutionizing digital fashion” with its latest investment. The company’s roadmap will include initiatives for digital fashion and fabric, virtual experiences, NFTs, augmented reality, and more.

“There is a shift in values in how Gen Z is consuming fashion, and SwatchOn wants to be a leader with these emerging trends. We saw firsthand how economies of scale made it difficult for smaller brands to compete with their larger counterparts,” said SwatchOn co-founder and CEO Will Lee in an official release. “Fortunately, in the virtual world, that is not the case. We want to create a digital fashion marketplace that will level the playing field and give emerging brands the opportunity to share their creativity with a broader audience.”

Genies: $150M Series C to Continue Building its Avatar Ecosystems

Los Angeles-based Genies closed a $150 million Series C funding round led by Silver Lake with participation from Bond, NEA, and Tamarack Global.

The five-year-old tech company built an app that lets users design avatars that can be used on social platforms like Giphy and Instagram. Genies is ready to take its mission a step forward and use its Series C to launch a blockchain-focused strategy and provide more avatar creator tools that let users create digital fashion collections, homes, and experiences.

“We believe avatar ecosystems are going to shape Web3 the same way that mobile apps defined Web2,” said Genies CEO Akash Nigam in a statement. “With every advancement of the internet, an expansive new region of entrepreneurial skill sets is born. In Web3, Gen Z avatar ecosystem builders are going to be the leaders of innovation and, through our creator tools, we strive to empower their wildest imaginations, ideas, and experiences as avatar creations.”

Genies also may be dabbling in the NFT marketplace business. The company recently launched a special NFT marketplace called The Warehouse which lets its creators buy, sell, and trade the avatars they make. The NFTs are minted on the Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain.

This latest funding round comes after Genies closed a $65 million Series B in May 2021. In December 2021, the company landed a partnership with Universal Music Group to develop avatars and digital wearable NFTs for the label’s roster of artists.

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