Azuki Among Latest NFT Projects To Gain VC Funding: Report

Chiru Labs would reportedly be valued at least $300 million once the round closes


Source: Azuki


key takeaways

  • Art and NFT collector Adrien Cheng may be involved in Chiru Labs’ raise
  • An official announcement from Chiru Labs and Azuki founder is still anticipated

At first, Twitter rumor had it that the Azuki NFT project had raised a round of funding that brought its creator company, Chiru Labs, to a valuation of $1.4 billion. That unconfirmed rumor was reportedly an exaggeration.

New information from The Block suggests that Chiru Labs is closing an upcoming $30 million Series A round, which would value Chiru Labs between $300 million and $400 million once completed. 

Neither the company nor the project’s pseudonymous founder Zagabond have confirmed these values.

During the speculative frenzy, the price of the mean average Azuki went from 11.5 ether (ETH) to 15.7 ETH on OpenSea, with the collection peaking at a floor price of 11.9 ETH, on Wednesday. 

The highest price paid in US dollars for an Azuki NFT in the past 30 days was around $142,700 — 105 ETH, on Monday, according to NonFungible. As the price of ether declined, another collector ended up purchasing an Azuki NFT two days later for 106 ETH, or about $135,000.  

Prohibitions against trading on insider information, when it comes to NFTs, remains a murky area of business policy and the law.

Recently, Hong-Kong based art collector Adrian Cheng tweeted that he acquired 101 Azukis to “democratise and demystify Web3 and Metaverse for all” out of “love and admiration” for the collection.

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Cheng, who is also a co-founder of the venture capital firm C Capital, announced his firm’s rebrand to C Ventures and its plans to raise a $200 million blockchain fund and a $300 million private equity fund within the next 18 months, reported Bloomberg. 

Whether Cheng participated in Chiru Labs’ supposed fundraising efforts is not yet clear.

However, Benoit Pagotto, the co-founder of the Nike-owned NFT project RTFKT, did make a curious Tweet not long before the rumors started. In response to a Twitter user alluding to a venture capital funding announcement from Azuki on Sept. 13, Pagotto stated that Chiru Labs may have been “talking to a lot of vcs” but it wasn’t closing deals.

He also mentioned Cheng’s recent NFT sweep as the potential “start of something” and revealed Cheng had also invested in RTFKT.

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Other recent NFT project raises

Hume, a Web3 record label, previously acquired the virtual “metastar” Angelbaby — an NFT character from the NFT project FLUF World. On Thursday, Hume announced it raised $11.7 million in a Series A round to fund more metaverse-based musical artists.

Doodles revealed last week it had raised $54 million at a $704 million valuation, in a round led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital firm 776. Although Doodles had originally announced the investment in June, during NFT.NYC, it had not disclosed the deal’s specifics.

Proof Collective, the company behind Moonbirds NFTs, raised $50 million in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) at the end of August.  

And the largest NFT funding round to date goes to Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs.

Thanks to a16z, the startup raised $450 million in March, bringing its valuation to $4 billion.

These projects claim the capital raised will go toward executing their roadmaps and funding the expansion of their intellectual property and NFT ecosystem into entertainment, metaverse and gaming ventures.

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