How Yuga Labs Became a $4B Web3 Media Company in a Year
Yuga Labs, the creators of the popular non-fungible token (NFT) collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), has recently closed $450 million in a seed funding round at a valuation of $4 billion. Notably, the company has gained a massive valuation in just over a year, putting it among the fastest-growing companies ever.
How Yuga Labs Built an Exclusive Community with NFTs
Launched in early 2021, Yuga Labs is a Web3 platform that has leveraged the power of blockchain and NFTs to build an entertainment empire. The company is best known for creating BAYC, a collection of 10,000 Ape NFTs, each with completely unique traits.
Unlike other NFT collections at the time, Yuga Lab’s project acted as a membership club with sizable benefits. During its short history of just around a year, BAYC consistently pushed the concept to other levels, landing branding deals with the so-called Yacht Club as an exclusive social organization of sorts and even launching exclusive parties to their members.
Moreover, the collection has also been successful in attracting celebs and other famous people. For instance, Eminem, Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry, Post Malone, Snoop, Serena Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, and a dozen other high-profile celebrities are now holders of the popular NFT collection.
The collection further bolstered its leading position within the Web3 space by acquiring the CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT IPs. Just before the deal, CryptoPunks and the BAYC were the two leading rivals in the NFT space. However, they are now sharing one owner, making Yuga Labs the most powerful company within the Web3 space.
And more recently, the Bored Ape Yacht Club announced the launch of its much-anticipated token. Dubbed ApeCoin, the coin is an ERC-20 token designed for utility and governance and is regarded “as the official currency of the BAYC Ecosystem.”
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Yuga Labs Valued at $4 Billion
Yuga Labs announced Tuesday it has closed $450 million in a seed funding round that gives it a post-money valuation of $4 billion. Led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), the company received investment from top-tier game studios like Animoca Brands and prominent VC firms like LionTree, Sound Ventures, and Thrive Capital.
In a press release, the company detailed that it plans to use the funds to scale its rapidly growing team, attract new talents, and fund its partnership plans. Chris Lyons, a general partner at a16z crypto, said:
“Yuga Labs has quickly become a web3 culture, gaming, and entertainment empire. Mainstream adoption in web3 is accelerating at lightning speed, and Yuga is at the forefront of merging culture and innovation for everyone to enter the metaverse. We’re thrilled to invest in this brilliant team and their vision, and help forge the next frontier of community-owned entertainment.”
The company also plans to use a portion of the funds to build a Metaverse project. On Friday, the BAYC revealed a glimpse of the project. Called Otherside, the team describes the project as an MMORPG meant to connect the broader NFT universe and will be powered by ApeCoin.
Wylie Aronow, a co-founder of Bored Ape Yacht Club, has told The Verge that the Otherside Metaverse project aims to create “an interoperable world” that is “gamified” and completely decentralized. “We think the real Ready Player One experience will be player-run,” Aronow added.
All in all, Yuga Labs’ $4 billion valuation is arguably justified with its achievements and its ambitious plans to build a media empire around NFTs. Echoing the same point of view, Chris Dixon, who leads Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto arm, said:
“To me, Yuga Labs, combined with these other emerging [Web3] companies, are an important counterweight to companies like Meta. There’s a dystopian future where Meta is this kind of dominant digital experience provider, and all of the money and control goes to that company.”
What do you think the future holds for Yuga Labs and its Metaverse project? Let us know in the comments below.