Funding Wrap: Metaverse and Web3 Gaming Still Hits With VCs

Venture capitalists awarded $500 million in funding to crypto startups last week — more than half went to metaverse and Web3 gaming firms

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key takeaways

  • Blockchain gaming and metaverse raises dominated funding discourse last week
  • Animoca Brands raised $100 million while Mysten Labs netted $300 million

As traders debate whether Ethereum’s Merge represents a “buy the rumor, sell the news” event, metaverse and Web3 gaming projects continue to draw major funding.

Last week, the Hong Kong-headquartered Animoca Brands secured $100 million in a strategic funding round led by Singapore state-owned Temasek the likes of Boyu Capital and GGV Capital. Previous backers Mirae Asset Management and True Global Ventures (TGV) also participated, among others.

“Animoca Brands has grown significantly as a company in the last year, and our new investors will contribute strategic advice and perspective as we build the world’s leading company furthering digital property rights in the Web3 industry,” Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands said in a statement.

The blockchain gaming giant — the largest in Asia — appears quick to put that money to use. Word broke last week that Animoca had backed San Fransisco-based ​​Revolving Games in its latest $13 million seed raise alongside Pantera Capital, Polygon and Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser.

Revolving Games previously raised $12 million in pre-seed funding from backers including NBA TopShots’ Dapper Labs, Permanens Capital Partners, Kenetic, Saramayacar and DWeb3 Capital earlier this year. 

Companies building new blockchains to underpin video games are also garnering interest.

Mysten Labs, another San Franciscan Web3 startup, in a Series B netted $300 million funding from investors to scale its fledgling blockchain, Sui. FTX Ventures led the round, with prominent investors from a16z, Jump Crypto and Apollo joining in.

Although a launch date has not yet been set, Mysten Labs envisions Sui as a low-cost creator-owned network, geared specifically for games.

“We believe that Sui’s novel architecture will meaningfully improve scalability and lower transaction costs, unleashing new web3 applications and experiences for a broader audience,” Arianna Simpson, a general partner at a16z said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the NEAR Foundation — the Swiss firm behind upstart layer-1 network NEAR — has just debuted a $100 million venture capital fund in partnership with newly-launched Caerus Ventures.

The fund, which initially closed with $50 million in capital, will focus on seed to Series A investments across Web3 culture and entertainment projects.

Separate from gaming, Seattle-based Web3 startup SpiceAI, which wants to make blockchain data more accessible, received $13.5 million from Madrona Venture Group. Australian venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures and many angel investors also took part in the round. 

In its current state, SpiceAI platform is a query interface integrated with GitHub and gives developers access to data from various protocols.

Other noteworthy raises last week include:

  • Web3 UX startup Slide secures a $12.5 million seed from Framework Ventures.
  • Software development and decentralized data storage startup Community Labs raises a $30 million Series A led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.
  • Gameplay Galaxy secures a $12.8 million seed from Blockchain Capital.
  • Synquote, a decentralized trading platform for cryptocurrency options, closed a $2.8M seed round.
  • Trystack.io received $2.7 million from Madrona to build crypto education trading platform.

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