BUD, a fledgling app attempting to create a metaverse for Generation Z to play and communicate with one another, has raised another round of funding in three months.
The Singapore-based startup confirmed that it had raised $36.8 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India, following a Series A extension in February. The new investment takes BUD’s total funding to more than $60 million.
This round of funding attracted a number of renowned China-focused investors, including ClearVue Partners, NetEase, and Northern Light Venture Capital. The round was attended by current investors GGV Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, and Source Code Capital.
BUD, founded in 2019 by two former Snap programmers Risa Feng and Shawn Lin, allows users to build bulbous 3D characters, cutesy virtual assets, and brightly colorful experiences using drag-and-drop and without any coding skills.
The business declined to provide the number of active users but stated that since the app’s launch in November, users had generated over 15 million bespoke experiences, which are virtual worlds with gaming that others may join. On BUD’s marketplace, virtual assets such as outfits and accessories designed by players for characters have changed hands over 150 million times.
These transactions are definitely a prospective source of revenue, but BUD is not charging commissions at this time. It has also not begun monetizing the app in other ways.
The app has been ranked among the top 10 social apps in almost 40 countries spanning North America, Southeast Asia, and South America, possibly because of its free-to-use and ad-free nature. According to market intelligence firm SensorTower, it is presently the top free social Android app in Thailand and Vietnam.
Apps like Roblox and Zepeto from South Korea have also made it easy for anyone to create virtual characters and spaces. BUD is enhancing the user experience by introducing a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This means that the ownership of virtual objects purchased on the app will be documented on the blockchain. Reselling digital assets in the form of NFTs, where validity and provenance can be more easily checked, is likely.
BUD does not disclose which chain the NFT project will be on or what tokens it will use but said the marketplace will “soon be live.”
“While BUD makes 3D content creation possible for mainstream Gen Z consumers, we will continue to bring blockchain to mainstream consumers and allow our creators to truly own and monetize their creations,” said Lin in a statement.
The company is rapidly expanding, with 130 employees divided throughout its headquarters in Singapore, as well as locations in Shenzhen and the United States.
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