BUD, a metaverse user-generated platform, announces its $36.8M Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India with participation from ClearVue Partners, NetEase and Northern Light Venture Capital. Existing investors GGV Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and Source Code Capital also participated in the round.
Founded in 2019 by former Snap engineers, Risa Feng and Shawn Lin, Singapore-headquartered BUD is a leading global metaverse UGC platform encouraging users to create and share 3D interactive experiences with its easy-to-use creation tools.
To date, over 15 million 3D experiences and assets have been created on the platform and user-generated 3D assets have been traded more than 150 million times. Since its global launch in November 2021, BUD skyrocketed to the list of top 10 social apps in more than 38 countries around the world including North America, Southeast Asia and South America.
With the right mix of technology and art, BUD greatly fulfills Gen Z’s desire for entertainment, creation and sharing. It is becoming a preferred platform for Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha to socialize in 3D immersive worlds. In addition to customizing unique avatars, users can also create and explore millions of experiences ranging from hangout places to battle royale games.
The mobile-native creation tools require no prior coding knowledge. Without providing any preset 3D templates, BUD allows creators to build 3D experiences from scratch by using geometric modules and interactive props. Apart from adding texts, pictures, music and videos to enrich experiences, lighting and sky-box can be adjusted as well to create an immersive environment.
Many aesthetic scenes and interactive experiences in BUD can look like they are created using professional PC software by professionals but they are actually all created by users on their mobile devices.. BUD’s users are young and digital natives, most of whom are teenage girls who likely do not have any coding experience but are creative and love self-expression. BUD is a virtual platform for them to showcase this creativity and get to know others with similar interests.
The company intends to use the fresh funding to further develop its creation tools, grow its global user base and roll out web3 products for its metaverse ecosystem. The company has revealed clear plans to launch its own NFT marketplace.
“The media of the next era will not be limited to familiar forms like text, pictures or videos, but will turn to more immersive and interactive formats. BUD is such a user-generated platform for the 3D world where everyone, not just hard-core gamers or professionals, has the chance to create and share whatever they want,” shared Risa, CEO and co-founder at BUD. Graduated from Cornell with a degree in Computer Science, Risa joined Snapchat’s AR Division in 2017 and worked on frontier Lens experiences prior to founding BUD.
“While BUD makes 3D content creation possible for mainstream gen-z consumers, we will continue to bring blockchain to mainstream consumers and allow our creators to truly own and monetize their creations,” said Shawn, co-founder at BUD. Prior to founding BUD, Shawn spent three years at Snap, working on its performance optimization, developer framework and user growth.
“BUD is establishing itself as a social destination for GenZ while uniquely enabling ownership of content in the metaverse. Millions of users are creating content on BUD and sharing their creations on social media, aiding the inherent virality of the BUD platform. We are impressed by the passion with which the founders have built BUD, and are excited about their future plans for localisation and growth.” Aakash Kapoor, VP, Sequoia India
“The immersive and interactive experience created by BUD users brings happiness to GenZ around the world. We’re excited for the progress BUD has made and look forward to the launch of its new web3 products.” said Jenny Lee, managing partner at GGV Capital.
“With the immersive 3D experience of the product and explosive growth among GenZ users around the world, BUD is rapidly growing as a leading UGC platform in the emerging metaverse,” said William Chen, Founding Managing Partner of ClearVue Partners. “We are excited to work with this innovative team and to bring together our resources and experience in the global consumer, media, and entertainment industries.”