Animoca Brands has quickly become one of the most important players in the metaverse. The company behind The Sandbox and $SAND token has a portfolio of “more than 150 NFT-related projects, including play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot, and OpenSea, the largest NFT trading platform,” reported CoinDesk. Animoca raised 65 million in October at just a $2.2 billion valuation. It is Hong Kong based and registered in Australia with operations worldwide.
What it Means
- Animoca is animated by the mission to enable a “free and open metaverse.” Yat Siu, Animoca’s founder and chairman, said in a Tweet this week, “The threat to building a #metavers that is owned by a majority interest comes from those that want to build a closed metavers who already have control of all of our data and are monetizing off the data that we gave up for free.”
- Siu was directly referring to Facebook and Tencent in these comments but they apply equally to any tech giant that seeks to create a metaverse walled garden without interoperability.
- Decrypt wrote in October 2021 that, “Animoca Brands has invested aggressively–and is ‘in a hurry’–to build a metaverse free of centralized control, says founder Yat Siu.”
- Animoca isn’t strictly investing at metaverse spaces. While it is know for investments in The Sandbox and Decentraland, it has a big focus on gaming–including a recent deal with Bored Ape Yacht Club–and a variety of other investment segments ranging from crypto wallets to NFT marketplaces. The common thread among these companies is openness and interoperability.
- The new cash infusion will enable Animoca to make even larger investments while continuing to invest in new startups. Many of its early investments have grown large enough that their upcoming funding rounds will surpass nine figures and that will require much larger cash outlays for Animoca if it wants to maintain its current ownership levels in those companies.
- The funding will also enable Animoca to invest in existing companies that have large customer bases left over from Web 1 and Web 2 eras and bring them into the metaverse with the “free and open” orientation.
- Don’t think this is the last funding round for Animoca. If its current portfolio continues to outperform other segments and funding flows into metaverse companies maintains its current pace, Animoca will likely take on another cash influsion before then end of 2022.