NFT Investments: Biggest VC Funding for NFT Projects in 2022
by Corporate Trash
Billions of dollars of venture capital funding have been invested into NFT start-ups in 2022, as massive VCs like a16z aim to expand their crypto portfolio. Whether it’s an investment of $1 million or $100 million or beyond, these types of investments bring headlines that grab Web2’s attention, as well as the NFT community.
Interest in crypto and NFTs has skyrocketed in the past few years, from both consumers and investors; the bull run of 2021 brought more attention to the space than ever. But VCs investing in the NFT space want companies and teams that are focused on the long haul.
Here are some of the NFT projects that have landed massive funding rounds from VCs.
Note: For the purpose of this article, we are focusing on NFT-focused company rounds of over $50 million in Q2 and Q3 of 2022.
Genies: $150 million (Metaverse Avatars)
With their $150 million Series C in April 2022, Genies continues to roll out avatar creation tools that enable anyone to create their own avatars, avatar fashion collections, and avatar homes and experiences. The raise brought Genies to a $1 billion valuation.
The company has already partnered with both Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group to be their official avatar and NFT provider.
Genies is on the Flow blockchain and uses Dapper Wallet for collectors to buy exclusive digital fashion items. They recently released a beta program for creators who want to sell their original designs for Genies avatars.
While there is currently no secondary marketplace, users can equip their avatar with accessories and apparel that they buy. Drops on The Warehouse are popular and can sell out quickly, depending on the supply.
Rario: $120 million (Sports Collectibles)
Singapore-based Rario is an officially licensed cricket NFT platform. With its massive $120 million Series A investment by Dream Sports, it will connect Rario to 140 million cricket fans in India. It’s Dream Sports’ biggest investment to-date after it’s $800 million raise ($8 billion valuation) in 2021.
Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world. Rario enables fans to connect as a community and buy the most exciting moments in the sport. The platform is run on Polygon and also has Animoca Brands as a partner.
Magic Eden: $130 million (NFT Marketplace)
Magic Eden’s giant $130 million Series B round came just three short months after their $27 million Series A. The new investment made Magic Eden a unicorn at a $1.6 billion valuation. They weren’t the first Solana NFT secondary marketplace, but they grew to be the volume leader.
At the time of the round, Magic Eden made up nearly 97 percent of all secondary Solana NFT volume.
Not long after, Magic Eden announced that they would support Ethereum NFTs, in their efforts to dominate more of the secondary NFT ecosystem. While the young marketplace is still fighting for market share, they’re working to expand their products to draw people aware from giants like OpenSea.
They recently launched an Ethereum NFT aggregator beta called Magic Ethen.
Animoca Brands: $75.3 million (Open Metaverse)
Animoca Brands raised over $75 million at a $5.5 billion valuation to promote digital property rights for online users. They aim to deliver true ownership of assets and data through blockchain and NFTs.
They are closely tied to The Sandbox Game, Revv Racing, and — perhaps most famously — Otherside, the metaverse game from Bored Ape Yacht Club. Animoca is passionate about asset inoperability and promoting an open metaverse for all.
VeeFriends: $50 million (NFT Ecosystem)
VeeFriends is entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s first NFT project. Launched in 2021, it has aimed to bring likeminded NFT collectors together and celebrate each of the unique human traits that are embodied in the cartoon collection. In addition, it was one of the earliest promises of IRL utility for an NFT; a VeeFriends doubles as a ticket to VeeCon, a popular Web3 conference.
With the $50 million round (valuation not disclosed), GaryVee will build out the IP of the 283 characters in the VeeFriends universe. He has already expanded the original VeeFriends with VeeFriends 2, Book Games, and an UNO deck in partnership with Mattel.
Unstoppable Domains: $65 million (Web3 Domains)
While many are familiar with Ethereum Name Service domains that end in .eth, there are other Web3 domains. Unstoppable Domains provides full domain ownership as NFTs to domains like .nft, .wallet, and .crypto. They have registered over 2.5 million domains.
Unstoppable Domains raised $65 million lead by Pantera, valuing the company at over $1 billion and putting them in the unicorn class.
Unstoppable supports decentralized, digital identities which can be used to log in to over 400 Web3 dApps. The funding will be used to strengthen partnerships to their already impressive list (including Moonpay, Polygon, Blockchain.com).
Ready Player Me: $56 million (Metaverse Avatars)
ReadyPlayerMe raised a $56 million Series B in August. The company is laser focused on cross-platform full-body 3D avatars, delivering the same experience across games and metaverse layers. Ready Player Me has partnerships with over 3,500 developers, including Somnium Space, VR Chat, RTFKT, and Spatial. The platform also works with massive brands like Dior, Adidas, and WB.
Before it was Ready Player Me, the company was Wolf3D. It worked with large companies to build them their own avatars. This began their tech which allows people to create a metaverse avatar from just a selfie, which people can do now on their website.
PROOF Collective: $50 million (Membership & NFT Ecosystem)
PROOF Collective is is a private, limited NFT membership collection targeted at NFT collectors and investors. On the PROOF website, it says “Membership includes access to our private Discord, early access to the PROOF podcast, in-person events, and other collaborations created exclusively for PROOF Collective members.”
PROOF has other collections which make up its ecosystem. Some of these collections include the PROOF Pass, Moonbirds, Oddities, and Grails.
In the latest Future PROOF event, the popular company announced they had raised a $50 million Series A. They also discussed future collections like Moonbirds Mythics, plus an ERC-20 token coming in 2023. The Kevin Rose-led company has gained a devoted fan base. They sport their Moonbirds profile picture as their online personas.
Limit Break: $200 million (Blockchain Gaming)
This one came out of left field for many in the space. Veteran Game of War mobile game creator Gabe Leydon left his company Machine Zone to explore crypto gaming. His new venture Limit Break is pioneering the “free-to-own” gaming model, and VCs are betting big on Leydon’s vast experience in the mobile gaming space.
Limit Break gives away NFTs for free, and then the community evangilizes themselves to become strong advocates for the games. Their first NFT was DigiDaigaku, a seemingly normal everyday free mint which went on to reach 10 Ethereum floors and higher after the news that Limit Break had raised $200 million to build out free-to-own games.
Doodles: $54 million (NFT Ecosystem)
Doodles is one of the most popular NFT collections on Ethereum, with art by renowned illustrator Burnt Toast (Scott Martin). At NFT NYC 2022, the team announced many updates and plans for their ecosystem at an Apple-like keynote. These include Doodles 2 that will bring Doodles to all, Dooplicators, Genesis Boxes, music NFTs led by Pharrell and Columbia Records, and more.
After a divisive hiatus from Twitter, Doodles broke their silence with the news of a $54 million Series A round (valuation undisclosed) led by Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian fund 776 Ventures. The funds will be used for additional collector experiences, new tech, product development, media, and many new hires. The team also plans to hire across many roles.
TL;DR — NFT Investments from VCs
A report from Reuters says that 2022 is on track to surpass the $26.9 billion of NFT investments in 2021. Even in a quieter market, crypto and NFT companies are gaining the attention of venture capital investors.
Throughout the remainder of the year, we’ll likely see several additional $50 million funding rounds for other Web3 companies. These companies focus on strengthening decentralization, gaming, NFT purchasing, digital identities and more.
The image for this blog was created by Dall-E 2 by OpenAI.