- The round was led by a16z and Variant.
- The funding values Shibuya at $50 million.
- Pplpleasr aka Emily Yang describes Shibuya as a cross between Netflix and Kickstarter.
Shibuya, a Web3 film distribution platform founded by NFT artist Pplpleasr, has raised $6.9 million in a seed round led by a16z and Variant.
Celebrity investors like Paris Hilton and Kevin Durant as well as Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai, and Aave founder Stani Kulechov also participated in the round, which values Shibuya at $50 million.
The platform allows filmmakers to create content funded by fans instead of Hollywood studios. It also enables users to engage, fund, decide outcomes and become owners of long-form video content.
The funding will be used to on-board new IPs and creators to Shibuya, scale the engineering team, and hire a lead UI/UX designer amongst other roles as we scale and grow the platform.
Yang told Fortune that Shibuya will initially focus on animated films, which has been a passion of hers since watching Pixar movies as a child. Shibuya’s first project is an animated film titled White Rabbit.
Directed by Yang and fellow visual artist Maciej Kuciara, the film follows a young heroine named Mirai, who tries to protect a world where technological advances have compromised the blockchain.
While the film is free to watch, fans can purchase a producer pass that allows them to impact the film’s storyline and outcome. The film previously raised over $1.5 million through NFT sales to support its development. According to NFTGo, the White Rabbit Producer Pass has generated 529 ETH in sales volume. Holders can use the tokens to vote on two paths the film could take.
Yang describes Shibuya as a cross between Netflix and Kickstarter, but says that its blockchain-based model offers fans active participation in the project. She also believes that Web3 film distribution is better for creators than the traditional film industry.
“If I was to go this about traditionally, I’d need to get Hollywood contacts,” she told Fortune. “Now, I don’t need to wait for anyone to say yes.”
Similar projects have previously been launched. This includes The Gimmicks, a community-driven animated NFT series launched by Web3 animation studio Toonstar and Sixth Wall, the digital arm of Mila Kunis’ Orchard Farm Productions.
At the end of each episode, NFT holders will get to vote on a ‘choose your own adventure’ option which will influence future episodes and character arcs.
White Rabbit is about to release its third instalment and is a proof-of-concept for Shibuya. The platform plans to invite other filmmakers and artists to the platform in the coming year, but is focusing on maintaining quality for now.
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