Niantic Raises $300 Million to Build Real World Metaverse

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by Babafemi Adebajo · 2 min read
Niantic Raises $300 Million to Build Real World Metaverse
Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Pokemon Go creator, Niantic has raised $300 million in a funding round led by Coatue and plans to use it to build a real-world metaverse.

Niantic spun out of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) in 2015 with $35 million in Series A funding from Google, Nintendo, and The Pokemon Company Group. Likewise, it raised $200 million in a Series B round and then $245 million in its series C. This brought the valuation of the company to $4 billion. With the latest funding round completed, the company now has a valuation of $9 billion.

Funding to Support Building of Real World Metaverse

The San Francisco company stated it plans to use this money to build the real-world metaverse. Niantic wants to bring people closer to the world in which they leave without being stuck to a VR headset.

Speaking about this, Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke said: “At Niantic, we believe humans are the happiest when their virtual world leads them to a physical one.” Hanke believes the real world metaverse can use technology to improve people’s experience of the world in which they find themselves.

Earlier in November, the company revealed its Lightship AR Developer Kit (ARDK). The ARDK is an open-source platform that makes AR games developing tools available to anyone with a basic knowledge of the Unity game engine.

Already, Coachella, Historic Royal Palaces, SoftBank, the PGA of America, Universal Pictures, and Warner Music Group have used ARDK to create augmented reality experiences. With the new funding, the platform will be expanded.

Next Internet Revolution?

General partner at Coatue, Matt Mazzeo expressed the company’s excitement to partner with Niantic. He said:

“Niantic is building a platform for AR based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next transition in computing.”

Mazzeo believes the infrastructure could help power the next internet revolution. This is especially true because the technology has been placed in the hands of the public. Unlike VR headsets that are still inaccessible to many, AR projects use smartphones to encourage participation. Niantic estimates that tens of millions of people play its games monthly.

One of its games, Pokémon GO, grossed more than $1 billion in 2020. It looks set to generate even more revenue this year. With more independent developers having access to Niantic’s Lightship ARDK, more of such games are bound to be developed. This will further strengthen the idea of a “real-world metaverse”.

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