A startup that lets you race NFT horses has raised $20 million from a16z, TCG

A startup using non-fungible tokens to represent digital racing horses has raised a $20 million Series A round.

Virtually Human Studio's funding round drew participation from investors Andreessen Horowitz and TCG Capital Management, both of which have made notable plays in the NFT space to date.

Through its gaming platform, dubbed ZEN RUN, VHS has developed a so-called metaverse centered around horse training, breeding and racing of the digital variety. Digital horses are created and then sold for real money, with some fetching significant sums on platforms like OpenSea. On ZED RUN, horse owners pay an entry fee and can win prize pools should they win on the digital track.

In a blog post, the firm -- founded in 2018 -- said it would use the funds to expand its engineering and product teams. VHS also said that, to date, more than $30 million worth of digital racehorse-NFTs have been sold.

“Unlike their real-life counterparts, ZED RUN’s racehorses aren’t bound by the limitations of the physical world. This means that horse racing is now a 24/7 sport," Chris Laurent, VHS's CEO, said in a statement.

The NFT space continues to draw venture interest. The most recent example is OpenSea, which this week closed a $100 million funding round led by a16z. The Series B round gave OpenSea a $1.5 billion valuation. a16z led OpenSea's $23 million Series A earlier this year. 

TCG took part in the $305 million funding round raised by Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties, announced in late March.