NFT avatar company Genies raises $150 million from Silver Lake

Private equity firm Silver Lake is leading a $150 million funding round for Genies, according to a report by the New York Times's DealBook. This latest funding round values the company at $1 billion, minting its status as a unicorn startup. 

"We're just trying to invest in the very best technology companies," Silver Lake co-chief executive Egon Durban told DealBook. "Sometimes it’s a small company like this, and other times it’s huge, large companies that need to be transformed.”

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Genies allow users to create virtual avatars that can be used in the metaverse, with accessories that can be purchased as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The company has partnered with record labels such as Warner Music Group and Universal to create avatars and NFT-gated digital goods for artists such as Justin Bieber, Migos and Cardi B. 

Most recently, former Disney CEO Bob Iger joined the company's board alongside investing in the company. This followed a number of traditional media companies taking steps to onboard people to lead metaverse efforts, such as Spotify and YouTube.

This isn't the first web3 investment for Silver Lake. It previously led an investment round into crypto infrastructure company Alchemy at a valuation of $10.2 billion.