How Yuga Labs Became a $4 Billion Web3 Media Company in One Year
Yuga Labs, the creators of the popular non-fungible token (NFT) collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), recently closed $450 million in a seed funding round at a $4 billion valuation. Notably, the company has acquired a massive valuation in just over a year, placing it among the fastest growing companies of all time.
How Yuga Labs Built an Exclusive Community with NFTs
Launched in early 2021, Yuga Labs is a web3 platform that 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 NFT Ape, each with completely unique traits.
Unlike other NFT collections at the time, Yuga Lab’s project acted as a membership club with considerable benefits. During its short history of about a year, BAYC has constantly taken the concept to other levels, striking brand deals with the so-called Yacht Club as an exclusive social organization and even launching exclusive parties at their members.
Moreover, the collection has also managed to attract celebrities and other famous people. For example, 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 cemented its leadership position in the Web3 space by acquiring CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT IPs. Just before the deal, CryptoPunks and BAYC were the two main rivals in the NFT space. However, they now share a single owner, making Yuga Labs the most powerful company in the web3 space.
And most recently, the Bored Ape Yacht Club announced the launch of their highly anticipated token. Dubbed ApeCoin, the coin is an ERC-20 token designed for utility and governance and is considered “the official currency of the BAYC ecosystem”.
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Yuga Labs valued at $4 billion
Yuga Labs announced on Tuesday that 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 has received investment from top game studios like Animoca Brands and top venture capital firms like LionTree, Sound Ventures, and Thrive Capital.
In a press release, the company said it plans to use the funds to scale its rapidly growing team, attract new talent and fund its partnership plans. Chris Lyons, 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 fusing culture and innovation so everyone can step into the metaverse. We are thrilled to invest in this brilliant team and their vision, and help forge the next frontier in community-owned entertainment.
The company also plans to use some of the funds to build a Metaverse project. On Friday, the BAYC revealed a preview of the project. Called Otherside, the team describes the project as an MMORPG intended to connect the wider NFT universe and will be powered by ApeCoin.
Wylie Aronow, co-founder of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, told The Verge that the Otherside Metaverse project aims to create “an interoperable world” that is “gamified” and completely decentralized. “We believe that the real Loan player one the experience will be player driven,” Aronow added.
Overall, Yuga Labs’ $4 billion valuation is arguably justified by its accomplishments and ambitious plans to build a media empire around NFTs. Echoing the same view, Chris Dixon, who heads the crypto arm of Andreessen Horowitz, said:
“For me, Yuga Labs, combined with these other [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 the money and control goes to that company.
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About the Author
Ruholamin Haqshanas is an accomplished crypto and finance journalist with over two years of writing experience in the field. He has a solid understanding of various segments of the FinTech space, including the decentralized iteration of financial systems (DeFi) and the emerging non-fungible token (NFT) market. He is an active user of digital assets for remittances.