Dapper Labs-backed NFT avatar platform raises $65M in funding

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Avatar developers Genies are set to launch an NFT marketplace on Flow later this year after closing a Series B funding round with $65 million.

Digital avatar developer, Genies, has raised $65 million to build an NFT marketplace for digital avatars on the Flow blockchain led by several heavyweight investors, including Flow’s developers, Dapper Labs.

SEC filings dated May 3 reveal the California-based company recently closed a $65 million Series B funding round led by investment firm Bond, alongside Coinbase Ventures, Tull Investment Group, Breyer Capital, and Dapper Labs.

The $65 million is slated to fund the development of Genies’ NFT Marketplace, which will allow users to create and trade tokenized avatars, in addition NFT clothing worn by the avatars. Genies expects to launch its marketplace in beta during the third quarter of this year.

In a tweet revealing the funding, Genies stated it hopes to become the single “virtual portable identity across the digital world,” offering users a means to express themselves within the virtual metaverse.

Genies launched in 2017, initially targeting for its avatars to be used on centralized social media and messaging platforms. On April 29, Genies announced it would be teaming up with Dapper Labs to launch a Genies marketplace on the Flow blockchain.

In an interview with VentureBeat’s gaming division, Genies’ CEO, Akash Nigam, noted the firm is transitioning to target a broader audience after initially planning to offer celebrities customized avatars to use in the context of digital events and launches.

Nigam stated the platform will host simple and intuitive tools allowing kids as young as six to “create their own digital wearable and goods collection and then release it in the marketplace and sell to the masses as well.”

In March, Genies released a series of NFTs in March commemorating pro-soccer player Mesut Ozil’s move from Arsenal F.C to Galatasaray in the firm’s first foray into nonfungible tokens. The tokens were auctioned on Nifty Gateway, with Genies selling out of 518 tokens for $670 each, or roughly $347,000.

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