Jadu Raises $36M to Help Gamers Turn Their 3D Animated NFTs into Playable Avatars

Jadu Raises $36M to Help Gamers Turn Their 3D Animated NFTs into Playable Avatars

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The Los Angeles-based augmented reality startup, Jadu, has raised $36 million in Series A to develop a gaming platform that lets players interact in the real world with their NFT avatars.

The funding round was led by Bain Capital and saw investment from existing investors, General Catalyst Partners. LG Tech Ventures and Alumni Ventures also participated in the round, bringing the company’s total funding tally to $45 million to date.

Jadu is developing an AR mobile app to connect players’ Ethereum wallets and turn their 3D animated NFTs into playable avatars. The app is being designed to integrate avatars from several NFT collections, such as Deadfellaz, CyberKongz, and FLUFs, and also from the ‘The Sandbox’ metaverse. The company is expected to launch the beta version in the coming summer.

Unlike other AR experiences, such as Pokemon Go, where players navigate from the first-person point of view, Jaud will allow them to stay put and instead move their characters around different locations. The idea is to offer a third-person video game but still use the real world as the primary landscape,

The company, founded in 2020, initially started with an AR mobile app that let users dance next to life-like holograms of music artists, such as Lil Nas X and Pussy Riot. It aimed to leverage the idea of providing users with a tool to create complex AR experiences, some of which went viral on social media platforms like TikTok. Jadu was briefly among the 30 most downloaded entertainment apps on the App Store.

Nevertheless, Jadu always aimed to build a more comprehensive AR platform. With the emergence of NFTs and the advancement of Web3, the company is proceeding with a vision to build an AR gameplay for Web3 avatars and sell accessories like jetpacks and hoverboards as NFTs. The startup has already earned over $5 million from initial NFT sales with a 5% commission on roughly $25 million in secondary sales for those NFTs.

The company plans to invest the funds towards building its gaming platform and release its first collection of in-house avatar NFTs.

“People are building out the metaverse as this interoperable virtual world,” Malik said. “We are building out what we call the ‘Mirrorverse’ as the AR reflection of that, and the ‘Mirrorverse’ exists on the physical planet – it exists on top of the world as we know it, and we think that’s super compelling,” said Jadu Founder and CEO Asad J. Malik.

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