Animoca Brands Backs Upland’s Real Estate-Based Metaverse With $18M Raise

The property game is home to more than 100,000 landowners across 13 virtual cities.

AccessTimeIconNov 2, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 3, 2021 at 3:40 p.m. UTC

Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

Upland, a metaverse game combining the EOS blockchain with real-world landmarks, has raised $18 million at a $300 million valuation.

The company announced Tuesday the Series A funding round was led by Animoca Brands with participation from C3 Management, OneTeam Partners, Block.one, Alumni Ventures Blockchain Fund and Global Founders Capital at a time when Facebook (now Meta) is going big on its version of the metaverse.

Upland is a mobile game that lets users buy and sell virtual land parcels that correspond to real-life property. First launched in early 2020, the game has more than 100,000 virtual landowners across 13 virtual cities and has facilitated the sales of over 2 million non-fungible tokens (NFT), according to a press release.

Purchased properties are sold on a peer-to-peer market within the app using Upland’s virtual currency, with space in popular cities like New York and San Francisco being the most in demand.

At the time of writing, an apartment building-sized plot of land a few blocks from Central Park goes for around $5,000, while a similar-sized estate in a city like Bakersfield, Calif., can be purchased for less than $100.

Upland says the new funding will be used to grow the company in the U.S. and Europe, along with additional investment in brand partnerships and user acquisition. A representative told CoinDesk the game plans to unveil virtual real estate in London in the near future.

The company raised a $2 million seed round in June 2019.

“What sets us apart is Upland’s connection to the real world in combination with engaging game mechanics driving an almost endless number of compelling use cases for NFTs,” said Dirk Lueth, co-founder of Upland. “We are proud that Animoca Brands, a clear thought leader in gaming and blockchain, led this funding round.”

Animoca Brands has been the dominant backer of metaverse gaming startups since raising $65 million at a $2.2 billion valuation in October.

Two of its recent investments include Genopets, the first ever “move-to-earn” GameFi project; and reNFT, a company creating lending protocols for NFTs with rentable use cases.

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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

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