Metaverse app BUD raises another $37 million, plans to launch NFTs –

KNOBan emerging app attempting to create a metaverse for Gen Z to play and interact with each other has landed another round of funding in three months.

The Singapore-based startup told it has 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 funding to more than $60 million.

As with previous rounds of BUD, this fundraising round attracted a handful of prominent China-focused investors: ClearVue Partners, NetEase and Northern Light Venture Capital. Existing investors GGV Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and Source Code Capital also participated in the round.

Founded by two former Snap engineers Risa Feng and Shawn Lin in 2019, BUD allows users to create spherical 3D characters, cute virtual assets, and richly colored experiences through drag and drop and without any coding background.

The company declined to disclose its active user size, but said its users have created more than 15 million custom experiences, i.e. virtual spaces with gameplay for others to participate in, since the app launched in November. Virtual assets, including costumes and accessories that users design for characters, have changed hands over 150 million times on BUD’s marketplace.

These trades are clearly a promising avenue for monetization, but BUD is not charging commissions for the time being. Nor has it started monetizing through the app in other ways.

Perhaps in part due to its free-to-use and ad-free nature, the app ranks among the top 10 social apps in nearly 40 countries in North America, Southeast Asia, and South America. It is currently the best free social android app in Thailand and Vietnamaccording to market research company SensorTower.

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

BUD declined to disclose which chain the NFT project will be in or which tokens it will use, but said the market will be “live soon”.

“While BUD enables the creation of 3D content for mainstream Gen Z consumers, we will continue to bring blockchain to mainstream consumers and enable our creators to truly own and monetize their creations,” Lin said in a statement. declaration.

The company is growing rapidly and has a team of 130 employees spread across its headquarters in Singapore and offices in Shenzhen and the US.