Los Angeles-based Jadu has raised $7 million to continue developing hoverboards for the metaverse along with its augmented reality world called the Mirrorverse. The company has already released AR-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and aims to build its global-scale blockchain-based AR world by next year.
The funding round was led by General Catalyst and saw participation from Metapurse, the world’s largest NFT fund, known for purchasing Beeple’s NFT art for $69 million. Other investors include LionTree, Coinbase Ventures, The VR Fund, PKO Investments & Progression Fund, Guy Oseary, Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Time president Keith Grossman, and Snoop Dogg’s manager, Nick Adler.
“Our team has been independently and diligently releasing boundary-pushing AR for six years now,” said Asad Malik, CEO of Jadu. “We’ve known we can create incredible AR experiences, but it’s only now with Web3 incentive systems that the missing piece is finally obvious. The community that we formed around Jetpacks, which we have now expanded with Hoverboards, is an incredible way to develop AR as a true creative medium beyond social media filters and enterprise use cases.”
The funding comes at the perfect time, as with the launch of Jadu’s NFT collection Jadu Hoverboards made the company $4.4 million in primary sales last week. The collection has since amassed a $20 million market cap with subsequent trading.
The collection features several rare hoverboards created in collaboration with celebrities, including seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, Canadian musician and internet sensation Grimes, rapper Snoop Dogg, visual artist Mimi Onuoha, and NFT curator Trippy.
The company’s previous NFT collection Jadu jetpacks, combined with the new hoverboards collection, bring its total NFT market cap to over $40 million. Buyers can use the items from both these collections to fly 3D avatar NFTs in AR.
They will also be used within the company’s Mirrorverse game world. The Jadu app, currently in beta, has support for 60,000 compatible NFT avatars. The company will unveil the Mirrorverse as a world-scale AR game, similar to Pokemon Go.
“We were quite impressed by Asad’s vision to design and build the Mirrorverse. Asad and his team at Jadu are true AR pioneers who have successfully managed to build a vibrant and rapidly growing Web3 community for their product,” said Niko Bonatsos, Managing Director at General Catalyst. “This community will serve as the foundation for the exciting upcoming launch of the AR game that will be launching in 2022. It’s rare to come across founding teams that consist of artists, AR pioneers, gaming experts, and native crypto folks like Jadu’s team does. We are thrilled to be leading their seed round to help them make Asad’s vision a reality.”
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