The parent company of NFT-based digital property trading game Upland has completed an $18 million Series A funding round led by Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands.
Upland was valued at $300 million in the new round.
The game, which involves buying and selling digital properties linked to real-world addresses, has already attracted more than 100,000 "landowners" that have bought more than 2 million NFTs.
The Mountain View-based gaming company will use the funding to continue building out a three-phase strategy, Upland co-founder Dirk Lueth told The Block. Right now it's moving past a first phase focused on setting up infrastructure, which involves selling virtual land tied to addresses in cities like New York and San Francisco.
The game is currently focused on building a digital economy so that players can operate businesses. The third phase would be "mixed reality," Lueth said.
Several other investors participated in the round, including some fresh faces. They include: OneTeam Partners, Block.one, Alumni Ventures Blockchain Fund, Global Founders Capital, former SoftBank managing partner Michael Ronen, Vorhaus Advisors' Mike Vorhaus and Transform Group CEO Michael Terpin, among others. Frankfurt, Germany-based C3 Management also participated as a returning investor.
Animoca Brands has been especially impressed with Upland's focus on mobile apps and that its players can sell digital assets to one another for U.S. dollars, the venture capital firm's co-founder and executive chairman Yat Siu said in a press release. Siu will become a member of Upland's board, Lueth said.
Upland is focused on supporting interoperability so that players can use their NFTs from elsewhere, Lueth said. Part of this is launching a NFT portal where users will be able to import NFTs from other blockchains and use them in the metaverse. This could help support things like running a digital art gallery using an NFT purchased from another marketplace, or participating in car races.
"We really want to build something where users can go between the different applications of the metaverse," Lueth said.