The fund will be named Animoca Capital and invest in growth phase as well as late-stage metaverse and non-fungible Tokens (NFT) startups across the globe, aiming to make the first investment in 2023.
Animoca has been at the forefront of investments in the web3 domain, standing out for its deal-making and execution abilities. Animoca has invested in over 380 web3 projects, including early investments into Dapper Labs, Sky Mavis (Axie Infinity), and Decentraland. One of its major web3 subsidiaries is The Sandbox, the NFT gaming metaverse allowing users to create, sell, and monetize their virtual gaming NFTs.
Animoca’s investments in web3, the metaverse and NFT projects has been made possible through investors predominantly in the web3 sector. Recently, Animoca also added mainstream backers. This year, Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek co-led a $110 million funding round for Animoca Brands at a $6 billion valuation. Japan’s largest bank MUFG invested $22.5m into Animoca Brands’ Japanese subsidiary for NFTs and the metaverse. Both Temasek and MUFG have a deep interest in web3 and blockchain, with Temasek being a backer of now-defunct FTX, and MUFG’s launch of blockchain platform, Progmat.
The announcement of Animoca Capital comes at an interesting time. On the one hand, web3 and NFT buzz is still significant in Japan but has tailed off elsewhere. On the other hand, “controls” and “due diligence” are the buzzwords circling the web3 arena after the recent catastrophe of FTX.
Animoca has had its own accounting issues in the past. For instance, Animoca was previously delisted from the Australian Securities Exchange in March 2020 for breaching listing rules. In June this year, the securities regulator ASIC fined Animoca A$50,000 for failing to publish accounts as a public company. While some might view these as minor infractions, they will attract heightened due diligence.
An interesting question is how new web3 investments will be split between Animoca Brands and Animoca Capital, given Animoca has already raised significant funds. Doubtless, all will be revealed in a formal announcement soon.