Augmented Reality Startup Jadu Raises $36M in Series A to Build Web3 Gaming Platform

The AR gaming platform will allow players to turn their favourite NFTs into gaming avatars.
Image source: Jadu

Quick take: 

  • Players can access the AR gameplay with their favourite NFT avatar.
  • Jadu will support 3D playable avatars from collections like Deadfellaz, CyberKongz, FLUFs and more.
  • Dozens of other collections will be added this summer.

Los Angeles-based augmented reality (AR) startup, Jadu, has raised $36 million to build its Web3 AR gaming platform that places 3D NFT avatars in its game environments. 

The Series A round was led by Bain Capital, with participation from LG Tech Ventures, Position Ventures, Alumni Ventures and existing investor General Catalyst Partners. With the new funding, Jadu has raised a total of $45 million.

Launched in 2020, Jadu is currently building an AR gaming platform that puts Web3 avatars and identities at the centre of the gameplay. The Jadu App which will be emerging out of TestFlight beta this summer, allows players to connect their Ethereum wallet and access AR gameplay for their favourite NFT avatar.

At launch, Jadu will support 3D playable avatars from collections like Deadfellaz, CyberKongz, FLUFs, VOIDs, ChibiApes and Meebits. Various Sandbox avatars will also be supported and avatars from dozens of other collections will be added this summer.

“We were blown away by the ingenuity of the Jadu team, the immersive AR gameplay, rich narrative around the Mirrorverse and devoted community. We’re excited to back this special project as they bring AR to the centre of the Web3 conversation,” said Lydia Hylton, Partner at Bain Capital.

The startup has its roots as an AR mobile app that allows users to dance to lifelike holograms of famous artists like Lil Nas X and Pussy Riot. According to founder and CEO Asad J. Malik, the idea for the app was to showcase complex AR experiences that weren’t available on other platforms on social media.

With the emergence of Web3, Malik took the chance to build a more expansive AR platform that incorporates NFTs. With a team of more than 50 creatives and engineers based in LA, Jadu pivoted to building AR gameplay for native Web3 avatars and selling playable in-game items like the Jadu Jetpacks and Hoverboards NFTs.

The startup collaborated with Grimes, Lewis Hamilton and Snoop Dogg for its initial NFT sales, and raked in more than $5 million. It takes a 5% commission from secondary sales of those NFTs on platforms like OpenSea. As of April, the Jadu Jetpacks and Hoverboards have generated $23 million in secondary sales.

Funds from the latest financing will be used to grow Jadu’s team and build out the gaming platform. The startup is currently looking to fill nine job roles ranging from game designer to devops engineer.

Malik believes that the near-term future of the metaverse is AR, not VR. “We are months away from showing a true interoperable Metaverse space fully functional in an AR context. Hundreds of millions of devices can already access the forms of AR we will be shipping. The AR Metaverse is closer than anything that’s being built on desktop or VR imo,” he tweeted.

Jadu will be releasing its very own avatars called AVAs this summer. All Jadu Jetpacks will be airdropped an AVA for free while all Hoverboards will be on the presale list.

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