Animoca Brands, an eight-year-old, 600-person Hong Kong-based outfit that has managed to put its stamp on many of the world’s most popular NFT and metaverse brands, has raised roughly $360 million in fresh funding at a valuation of more than $5 billion, the company announced today.
It’s a big leap from the $2.2 billion valuation the company was assigned in October when it raised a $65 million round. The number is even more notable considering that Animoca was valued at $1 billion in a $138 million round that closed as recently as July.
According to Crunchbase data, the company has now raised an estimated $604 million.
According to a spokesperson for the firm, the capital raise involved the issue of 111,173,515 new shares, which investors bought from Animoca Brands at the equivalent of $3.24 per share in a “pretty standard equity-based raise.” It’s worth noting, given that Animoca — which previously traded on the Australian Securities Exchange and was delisted in early 2020 because “it didn’t like the fact that we were dealing with crypto,” Animoca founder Yat Siu recently told us — now operates as an unlisted public company. (As Siu explained it, the company’s roughly 2,500 shareholders can sell their shares privately to other individuals. You just have to know who owns some to buy these.)
“Secondary placement of shares is occurring because there was high demand that could not be fulfilled in the primary placement,” added the spokesperson, “however secondary placement is not considered part of this capital raise and any sums exchanged via secondary sales do not count toward the company’s finances.”
Liberty City Ventures — and earlier investor in Animoca — led the new round, along with a mix of other earlier and new investors, including 10T Holdings, C Ventures, Delta Fund, Gemini Frontier Fund, Gobi Partners Greater Bay Area, Kingsway, L2 Capital, Mirae Asset, Pacific Century Group, ParaFi Capital, Provident, Senator Investment Group, Sequoia China, Smile Group, Stable Asset Management, Soros Fund Management, Wildcat Capital Management and Winklevoss Capital.
It’s easy to appreciate Animoca’s appeal right now. As we noted in our recent piece on Animoca, the outfit controls what it describes as a “broad portfolio of game products, both centralized and decentralized, branded and original, with coverage across most primary platforms including mobile devices, game consoles, PC, web, and blockchain” with products, including games, ranging from hyper casual to hardcore, as well as collectibles, utility tokens, e-sports titles” and more.
Some of those products tie to subsidiaries of the company, which got its start by developing games for smartphones and tablets and dove headlong into blockchain gaming roughly four years ago. Others represents stakes that Animoca has taken in other companies, including Dapper Labs; Sky Mavis, the developer of global sensation “Axie Infinity;” and the NFT trading platform OpenSea.
According to Siu, those various holdings were worth around $16 billion as of late November, though their value remains theoretical for now given that Animoca has not tried exiting from those positions. “They would be really what you describe as balance sheet items; they basically just accrue to the value of the equity of Animoca Brands,” he explained.
Unsurprisingly, Animoca is continuing to invest actively. Among the outfits that have announced Animoca’s involvement already this year are nCore Games, an Indian gaming firm that is preparing to enable users to “own” more of the assets they use to play and says it just raised $10 million in funding co-led by Animoca Brands and another high-profile investor in the crypto space, Galaxy Interactive.
Animoca also recently led a $9 million Series A round in CryptoSlam, a Kansas-based non-fungible token (NFT) industry data aggregator, and it led an $8 million Series A in Burnt Finance, a New York-based company developing an NFT auction protocol that’s built on the Solana blockchain.