Metaverse app BUD raises $37M, plans to launch NFT – TechCrunch

BUDa start-up app that is creating a metaverse for Gen Z to play and interact with, has raised another round of funding in three months.

The Singapore-based startup told TechCrunch it closed $36.8 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India, not long after it secured a Series A extension. in february. The new infusion brings BUD’s total financing to more than $60 million.

As with BUD’s previous rounds, this round attracted a number of prominent China-focused investors – ClearVue Partners, NetEase and Northern Light Venture Capital. Its existing investors GGV Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and Source Code Capital also participated in the round.

Founded by former Snap engineers Risa Feng and Shawn Lin in 2019, BUD allows users to create 3D onion-shaped characters, cute virtual assets, and colorful experiences through dragging and drop and without any coding background.

The company declined to disclose the size of its active users but said its users have created more than 15 million custom experiences, i.e. virtual spaces with games that others can participate in. Since the app’s launch in November, Virtual Assets, which include user-designed costumes and accessories for characters, have changed hands more than 150 million times on BUD’s marketplace.

These deals are clearly a promising way to generate revenue, but BUD currently charges no commissions. It also hasn’t started making money by other means through the app yet.

Perhaps in part due to its free to use and ad-free nature, the app has been among the top 10 social apps in nearly 40 countries across North America, Southeast Asia, and South America. It is currently the leading free social Android app in Thailand and VietnamAccording to market intelligence firm SensorTower.

Apps like Roblox and Korea Zepeto has also made it easier for people to design characters and virtual spaces. BUD is taking the user experience a step further with its plan to introduce a market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). That means ownership of virtual items sold on the BUD will be recorded on the blockchain. Resale of digital assets will likely become possible in the form of NFTs, where authenticity and provenance can be more easily verified.

BUD declined to say which chain the NFT project will be on or what token it will use, but said the market will “be up and running soon.”

“While BUD helps create 3D content for Gen Z consumers, we will continue to bring blockchain to the average consumer and allow our creators to truly own and earn,” said Lin. money from their creations,” Lin said in a statement.

The company is rapidly expanding and has a staff of 130 spread across its headquarters in Singapore as well as offices in Shenzhen and the US.

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