Singapore 3D Social Network BUD Raises $36.8 Million in Series B Round
Singapore-based startup BUD has raised 36.8 million in Series B funding for its still-nascent app BUD. The app is a 3D social network where Gen Zers can play and interact. The latest funding is coming just three months after its Series A+ funding three months ago where it netted $15 million.
The latest funding brings the company’s total funding to more than $60 million. The new funding was led by Sequoia Capital India. Also participating were a number of China-focused investors Northern Light Venture Capital, NetEase, and ClearVue Partners. Also participating in this funding round are Qiming Venture Partners, GGV Capital, and Source Code Capital.
The startup was founded in 2019 by former Snap engineers Shawn Lin and Risa Feng. Users on BUD can create bulbous characters on the platform, cute virtual assets as well as richly colored experiences via a simple drag-and-drop without the need for coding skills.
BUD didn’t reveal its current active user base but said users had created more than 15 million custom experiences on its platform since the app’s launch in November. These user experiences are virtual spaces that have gameplay that others can join.
BUD’s marketplace has seen over 150 million transactions of virtual assets such as accessories and costumes designed by users for characters.
Such a huge number of transactions has a massive revenue potential for the platform although BUD is still not charging commissions at the moment. In fact, the company is yet to begin any form of monetization via the app.
Thanks to its current ad-free and free-to-use model, BUD is currently one of the top 10 social apps in close to 40 countries in North America, South America, and Southeast Asia.
BUD is now the top free social Android app in Vietnam and Thailand based on data by the market intelligence company SensorTower.
There are already apps that allow users to design virtual characters and spaces such as Roblox and South Korea-based Zepeto. BUD’s unique proposition is that it is taking the user experience a notch higher by adding a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The virtual items sold on the BUD marketplace will be powered by blockchain and the digital assets will likely be resold as NFTs. However, BUD hasn’t revealed the blockchain on which the NFT project will be built on or the tokens it will use but it said the NFT marketplace will soon go live.
BUD says it wants to bring blockchain technology into the mainstream and make it possible for creators to truly own and monetize their work.
BUD is rapidly expanding and currently has 130 employees working in its Singapore headquarters and in its offices in the U.S. and Shenzhen.