Bored Ape Yacht Club startup Yuga Labs hits $4bn valuation

The firm will use the capital to scale up its growing team and expand partnerships

Bored Ape Yacht Club                                 
The funding takes the firm behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club to surpass a $4bn valuation – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

Miami-based NFT startup Yuga Labs has raised $450m (£341m) in a seed funding round to scale its fast-growing team and build its media empire around gaming and the metaverse. 

The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz’s venture capital firm a16z, with participation from investors such as Animoca Brands and its subsidiary The Sandbox, LionTree, Sound Ventures, and Thrive Capital, as well as crypto firms FTX and MoonPay, among others.

The team behind Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), which surpassed a $4bn valuation following the funding round, said it will use the fresh capital to scale its team and “attract the best talent across creative, engineering and operations functions, and for joint ventures and partnerships it has planned."

Building the metaverse and "a lot more to come"

The announcement comes just a few days after Yuga Labs announced a new teaser for its new metaverse project called “Otherside”, which is set to debut in April, exactly one year after it launched Bored Ape Yacht Club

It's understandable why the startup would want to build on the momentum it created with BAYC, as the NFT project continues to draw in interest from celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Enimen backing its NFTs. According to data by DappRadar, the BAYC has hit a total trading volume of $1.41bn, with several of its pieces trading for over $1m. 

“Already, a new economy is possible with the IP of Apes, Punks, and Meebits, owned by the community,” said Nicole Muniz, CEO of Yuga Labs.

“The possibilities for blockchain’s impact on culture are endless, and so we are building a beautiful, interoperable world for people to explore and play in. There’s a lot to come.”

“With this investment, Andreessen Horowitz is helping to establish a next-gen platform for the future of NFTs, gaming and entertainment,” PJ Cooper, a UK-based independent NFT artist and developer of the Pandimensionals.io, told Currency.com.

“With ambitions to construct a media empire that is owned and operated by players themselves, we will start to see the decentralised value proposition of cryptocurrencies and NFTs become truly fulfilled."

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