Tech startup Genies has raised $150 million in a Series C round led by Silver Lake that now values the company at $1 billion.
In a blog post, Genies CEO Akash Nigam said the funding allows the company to keep “building out the vision,” which is to develop a custom avatar-based metaverse platform for Gen Z. Avatars are digital representations of users that appear in video games or on social networking sites.
Avatar ecosystems are going to shape Web3 the same way mobile apps defined Web2.
Today we announce our $150M Series C led by Silver Lake to fuel our mission in empowering humans to create their own avatar ecosystems 🙏 https://t.co/ysXFYJPg95
— GENIES (@genies) April 12, 2022
Silver Lake co-CEO Egon Durban has high hopes for the platform.
“They make it possible for people to build the avatar ecosystems that we believe will drive the next evolution of human expression, communication, and creativity,” Durban said in a statement.
In December, Genies launched an invite-only (for now) NFT marketplace called “The Warehouse” on Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, a proof-of-stake chain designed to support NFT projects and play-to-earn games.
NFTs are unique tokens that exist on a blockchain like Ethereum or Flow and signify ownership, typically over an image or 3D asset.
Genies has been working on its avatar platform for some time, and forged exclusive partnerships with Warner Music and Universal Music Group last year to make virtual avatars and digital, wearable NFT items centered on the labels’ artists.
With its new unicorn status, Genies has positioned itself to be the Web3 competitor to games like Roblox, where Gen Z users create and dress up virtual avatars, engineer their own “experiences,” and buy other young creators’ virtual goods with real currency.
But unlike Roblox, Genies is leaning into the principles of Web3, promising each user “full commercialization rights” over the characters they create, dress, and house. As the Web3 metaverse surges onward, Genies may soon find itself competing with The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Ready Player Me among leading NFT integration platforms.
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