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Virtual Avatar Company Genies Raises $150M at $1B Valuation

The six-year-old company has partnered with artists including Cardi B, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Shawn Mendes, J Balvin and Migos.

Genies, a Los Angeles-based avatar startup with close ties to the music industry, raised $150 million in Series C funding led by Silver Lake and existing investors Bond, NEA and Tamarack Global, the company announced today. The deal values Genies at over $1 billion.

The six-year-old company has partnerships with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group as their official avatar and digital goods NFT provider, and has partnered with artists including Cardi B, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Shawn Mendes, J Balvin and Migos. Genies creates virtual identities for artists to use across the metaverse and releases digital wearables – such as a J Balvin space suit and a Mendes digital hoodie — for fans to collect and wear in the metaverse. Last year, Genies widened its ambition by launching a marketplace, The Warehouse, to allow individual designers to buy, sell and trade avatar designs.

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“We believe avatar ecosystems are going to shape Web3 the same way that mobile apps defined Web2,” said CEO Akash Nigam in a statement. “In Web3, Gen Z avatar ecosystem builders are going to be the leaders of innovation and, through our creator tools, we strive to empower their wildest imaginations, ideas, and experiences as avatar creations.”

Entertainment executives and celebrities have bet on Genies’ vision for metaverse apparel and collectibles. Former Disney CEO Bob Iger invested an undisclosed amount in Genies and joined its board in March. Thomas Tull, the founder of Legendary Entertainment invested in 2019. Singer Camila Cabello and NBA player Victor Oladipo are also investors.