Bored Ape Yacht Club owner Yuga Labs has raised $450 million in a funding round that values the blockchain-based company at $4 billion.
The latest funding round was first reported back in February and was led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The valuation comes on the heels of two major events for Yuga Labs. It acquired its rival NFT project CryptoPunks on March 11. Just five days later on March 16, the company debuted its BAYC-linked ApeCoin (APE).
Yuga Labs says it will use the funding to build out its NFT-based metaverse dubbed ‘Otherside.’ The company also plans to use the funds to “scale its rapidly growing team, attract the best talent across creative, engineering and operations functions, and for joint ventures and partnerships.”
The metaverse will utilize the newly minted ApeCoin for its metaverse efforts. The blockchain-focused company was founded in 2021, and this marks its seed funding round. It is one of the highest seed funding rounds for any recent startup – showcasing what a lightning rod NFTs have been.
The NFT mania kicked off last year as the technology gripped the music industry. Even Dolly Parton is dropping NFT collections at events like SXSW in Austin, highlighting just how enmeshed with the music industry the technology has become. Universal Music Group recently struck a deal to use several Bored Apes to create a virtual band called ‘Kingship.’
“Already, a new economy is possible with the IP of Apes, Punks, and Meebits, owned by the community,” says Yuga Labs CEO Nicole Muniz. “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.”
Variety reports that Guy Oseary has signed on to manage Yuga Labs. “This capital will give Yuga speed to market on many things underway and bring in new partners with strategic thinking that share the vision,” Oseary said in a statement. Oseary’s other management clients include Madonna, U2, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. With the funding round, Chris Lyons, general partner at a16z crypto, will join Yuga Labs’ board.