Metaverse and Virtual Being Startup Bud Raises $36.8M
Metaverse platform and virtual being creator Bud has $36.8 million in a Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital India. Bud has developed a child-friendly virtual universe of cartoonish characters and experiences usable for developers without any coding experience. The round more than doubles the amount raised by Bud to more than $60 million.
Bud began in 2019 as a metaverse for user-generated content. The Singapore-based company claims more than 15 million custom experiences have been generated since its launch. The platform lets users build virtual spaces filled with characters and scenery that best match their plans. The virtual assets can be exchanged on the platform’s marketplace, which has seen more than 150 million transactions since it launched. Bud doesn’t charge a commission in the marketplace or earn revenue elsewhere yet in the app. There aren’t even any ads. The company’s next step is to widen the marketplace to include non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Ownership of virtual items sold on the platform will be recorded on the blockchain and tracked through resales, ensuring authenticity. The details haven’t been announced as to which blockchain will be used and any connections to other markets. The company pitches itself as the metaverse for younger people looking to socialized online with custom avatars and offers a range of games to play online.
“The media of the next era will not be limited to familiar forms like text, pictures or videos, but will turn to more immersive and interactive formats,” Bud CEO Risa Feng said. “BUD is such a user-generated platform for the 3D world where everyone, not just hard-core gamers or professionals, has the chance to create and share whatever they want.”
There’s a growing number of metaverse developers looking for ways to make the virtual words family or child-friendly. MetaHuman Creator and Fortnite developer Epic Games recently unveiled a partnership with Lego to design their own child-friendly metaverse. Disney has its own metaverse strategy led by long-time executive Mike White took up the role of senior vice president of next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences. He is overseeing the overall project of connecting digital environments and AI-powered characters for the entertainment giant. And while Spotify’s new metaverse island on Roblox isn’t specifically for kids, it’s not hard to imagine the company setting up an area for younger music fans among its genre-based virtual archipelago.