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Yuga Labs: Bored Ape Creator Raises $450M to Build its NFT Metaverse

All eyes are on Yuga Labs as the blockchain company announced a major money move for its ambitious “Otherside” Web3 project.

Yuga Labs, the Web3 company behind Bored Ape Yacht Club, closed a $450 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz to build out its flagship metaverse project, Otherside, and develop NFT-focused games as part of the ever-expanding “Yugaverse.”

The fresh funding values Yuga Labs at $4 billion. Including investments from Aminoco Brands, FTX, LionTree, MoonPay, Sound Ventures, and Thrive Capital, the company will slate some of the new money for hiring, partnerships, and other joint ventures.

“Yuga Labs has quickly become a Web3 culture, gaming, and entertainment empire,” Chris Lyons, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said in a press release. “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. We’re thrilled to invest in this brilliant team and their vision and help forge the next frontier of community-owned entertainment.”

Lyons later announced that he’s joining Yuga’s board.

ESPN’s Rosalyn Gold-Onwude also shared that she participated in the funding round. (We told you she’s one of the coolest Black women in the Web3 space.)

Yuga Labs envisions its Otherside project will be the premiere decentralized NFT universe with gamification, BAYC cofounder Wylie Aronow described to The Verge. CEO Nicole Muniz added that the gaming universe won’t be just for Bored Ape NFT holders, and that NFTs from other collections will be able to exist within its metaverse world.

This big funding news comes after Yuga acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits a few weeks ago, bringing three of the most popular NFT collections under one umbrella. The company also spearheaded the launch of crypto token ApeCoin last week and handed over some IP rights for a pop-up restaurant coined Bored & Hungry coming to Los Angeles next month.

Yuga Labs launched last spring with BAYC and has relied heavily on the community to push its mission forward. A leaked pitch deck showed a much bigger picture of success for the company, and the leak is legitimized by Muniz’s point that creating opportunities for non-holders is a priority.

If the financial numbers in the deck are correct, then Yuga Labs rang in $127 million with net revenue of 92.4% in 2021. In layman’s terms, it costs very little to run the growing company. The deck also states that Yuga is poised to bring in roughly $455 million in revenue this year.

Yuga Labs didn’t disclose a release date for Otherside, but the company is working on launching a play-to-earn game later this year.

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