Chiru Labs is close to a $30 million Series A round of funding. This round follows a $54 million investment by venture capitalists last week for Doodles, another NFT project. Chiru Labs is a Los Angeles-based company that created the highly-hyped Azuki NFT line. It plans to raise at minimum $30 million through a Series A round.
The intended amount of the raise was confirmed by three people who were familiar with it. One source suggested that the majority of funds have been committed. The round would be worth between $300 million to $400 million, according to one of the sources. The deal was confirmed by a fourth source who is familiar with the matter.
Requests for comment were not answered by either Chiru or Zagabond, the pseudonymous founder of the project.
This news comes just one week after Doodles , a fellow NFT maker, raised $54 million at $704 million valuation in a round led 776 Venture Capital.
Reddit cofounder and NFT enthusiast Alexis Ohanian was also involved. Proof Collective, the startup behind Moonbirds , raised \$50 million through an a16z round. Azuki, Doodles, and Moonbirds are the next generation of Yuga Labs founder of Bored Ape Yacht Club, which raised \$450,000,000 in a round that was led by a16z. The round valued the startup at $4 billion.
Azuki has a collection of 10,000 NFTS
Azukis are a collection that features 10,000 sideways-facing anime characters. They can be dressed up with accessories such as headwear or weapons and displayed in various moods.
A very rare item from the set was sold for 420 Ethereum, more that a million U.S. Dollars at the time. According to OpenSea information, the cheapest Azukis today are worth 11.2ETH (roughly \$14,000).
This collection is a favourite among crypto elite. Arthur Cheong, the founder of web3 investment firm DeFiance Capital uses a rare Azuki for his profile photo. The same goes for Adrian Cheng, a billionaire and Hong Kong real estate tycoon who recently bought 101 Azuki TFTs.
According to Bloomberg, Cheng is currently raising $200 Million in order to invest in crypto-related investments.
However, Azuki’s rise has not been without its challenges. In May, Zagabond its founder published a blog post that detailed the details of three failed NFT project they had previously worked on before starting Azuki. The average price for an Azuki dropped from more than 30 ETH down to 10 ETH — and it is still not recovering.
In general, the NFT market has been struggling in recent months. The Block Research data shows that art and collectibles NFTs have not exceeded $100 million in weekly sales each week since May. Last August, nearly $1 billion was generated by the same type NFTs in one week.