SoftBank looks to expand its metaverse investment portfolio by funding popular female-centric app Zepeto, at a billion-dollar valuation.
Japanese multinational holding company SoftBank is looking to invest $150 million in Zepeto, a South Korean Metaverse platform. Furthermore, the deal will value Zepeto, a female-centric platform launched in 2018, at $1 billion. Since its inception, Zepeto has amassed over 2 million daily users to become one of the fastest-growing Metaverse platforms in South Asia. Furthermore, the company reported 47 million users in its database for its third quarter. This also makes it one of the busiest metaverse platforms.
Zepeto’s new billion-dollar company valuation, owing in part to SoftBank’s investment, makes it one of the foremost unicorns in the metaverse. Furthermore, besides SoftBank, the South Korean interactive platform also garnered funds from HYBE Co., a South Korean firm that manages a popular K-pop group called BTS. HYBE Co. will reportedly invest approximately $41 million into Zepeto at the same valuation. The funding process for both sums committed to the Zepeto metaverse will be announced later on Tuesday as a Series B fundraising round, according to SoftBank and HYBE Co.
Zepeto allows its female-dominated user base, 70% of which range between 13 and 24 years, to build digital 3D avatars. They do this by scanning a photo to build a personal digital image for interacting with other metaverse users. Many young female Zeprto users find it very appealing because of the fashion items available to the avatars. As Rudy Lee, chief strategy officer at Naver Corp, put it, “We’re probably the world’s largest virtual fashion marketplace”. Naver Corp is a subsidiary of the prominent South Korean internet company behind Zepeto’s operations.
The Zepeto Factor within the Metaverse Speaks for Itself in Volumes
Zepeto’s success with young women is a rarity in an industry that is dominated by older male gamers. In addition, it is also shows the metaverse’s potential to attract a diverse audience while creating a new online marketplace. Zepeto currently sells as many as 1.5 billion virtual fashion items for no more than a few dollars. Furthermore, a sizable chunk of the platform’s digital fashion products come from independent creators and designers.
The Zepeto success story has also attracted high-end fashion brands like Ralph Lauren, Gucci, and Dior have also tapped in. All three couture lines have unveiled virtual clothing collections on Zepeto, with Gucci even launching a virtual item promotional space there. In addition, even some individual celebrities are leveraging the South Korean metaverse platform. For instance, American singer and actress Selena Gomez and popular K-pop girl group Blackpink have sold exclusive items and organized fan meetings on Zepeto.
The metaverse is the latest spinoff phenomenon from the crypto world and is fast attracting mainstream recognition. Tech firms around the globe are injecting billions of dollars and creating new products for this emerging digital world. In addition, leading mainstream financial institutions are also beginning to show a keen interest in the metaverse too.