Coatue, a prominent crypto investor best known for his support of Chainalysis, has invested $300 million in Niantic’s metaverse project.
Niantic, the maker of the popular augmented reality (AR) mobile game Pokemon Go, intends to use newly raised funds to create a “real-world” metaverse.
The company officially announced Monday that it had completed a $300 million raise from the technology-focused investment manager Coatue, raising its valuation to $9 billion.
Coatue is a well-known cryptocurrency and blockchain investor, having backed companies such as blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis, cryptocurrency startup Fireblocks, blockchain security firm CertiK, and others. In addition, the firm recently took part in a $555 million funding round for cryptocurrency fintech startup MoonPay.
“Niantic is building an AR platform based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next computing transition,” said Coatue general partner Matt Mazzeo. “We are excited to collaborate with Niantic because we see this infrastructure supporting a metaverse for the real world and powering the next evolution of the internet,” he added.
Niantic did not state explicitly that its metaverse would use blockchain technology, nonfungible tokens (NFT), or cryptocurrencies.
“We’re constructing a future in which the real world is overlaid with digital creations, entertainment, and information, making it more magical, fun, and informative,” said Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke.
Unlike Facebook, which rebranded as Meta in October to signal its commitment to virtual reality development, Niantic is said to want to create technology that brings people closer to the outside world. “At Niantic, we believe that humans are most content when their virtual world leads them to a physical one.” A real-world metaverse, as opposed to a sci-fi metaverse, will use technology to improve our experience of the world as we’ve known it for thousands of years, according to Hanke.
Niantic’s Pokemon Go, which debuted in 2016, is one of the most successful mobile games of all time, reportedly surpassing the $5 billion revenue mark earlier this year. Some blockchain players were inspired by Pokemon Go, with the firm IoTeX launching its “Pebble Go” project, which aims to incorporate real-world data to NFTs using verifiable GPS information.