Not Boring Capital, Polygon Studios back company behind virtual-pet project in $3-million round: Exclusive

Quick Take

  • Anima, creator of “the first on-chain AR” digital assets, raised an additional $3 million from Polygon Studios, Not Boring Capital and others.

  • The company’s first project, called Onlybots, represents the first phase of Anima’s plan to introduce more people to “ownable” AR assets. 

Developers of the recently launched augmented-reality NFT project Onlybots secured an additional $3 million investment in a funding round led by Polygon Studios, Not Boring Capital, HashKey and others, the company said.  
Similar to Dapper Labs’ long-running NFT project CryptoKitties, Onlybots is a collection of digital pets consumers are able to buy and sell to each other — although Onlybots appears to be breaking new ground with the addition of AR.  
Onlybots is actually the first on-chain AR,” said Anima Co-founder Alex Herrity, adding that the NFTs have 3D modeling data attached to each token and are viewable through a smartphone camera; meaning owners can superimpose the digital creatures over the physical world. 
Herrity and Neil Voss — who between them have video-game experience working with Nintendo and Epic Games — cofounded Anima in 2021. With a pre-seed round of $500,000 led by Coinbase Ventures, Voss and Herrity created Anima to become a “protocol for dynamic and ownable augmented reality.” Anima launched its initial project called Onlybots last week. The collection consists of unique AR-enabled, Lego-like pets users can collect and trade.

During the last week, Onlybots’ Twitter feed has been flooded with posts from owners inserting, maneuvering and filming their AR-powered pets, making it appear as though the digital creatures exist in the natural world.

Screenshot from Onlybots' Twitter feed.

Not Boring Capital’s Packy McCormick said in a statement that Anima’s project allows users to “carry their creativity from the screen to the physical world.” 
Like CryptoKitties, the Onlybots collection are Ethereum-based NFTs that trade on the marketplace OpenSea. Anima says the first two batches of about 500 virtual pets, released last week, sold out in less than an hour. At one point the collection ranked fifth on OpenSea’s top-10 trending list. 
Anima plans to not only release more Onlybots virtual pets but also eventually introduce new ways for owners to interact and play with the digital creatures. Herrity said he and his team will monitor the creative ways people use and express themselves with the digital creatures and then adapt future functionality accordingly. 
Onlybots is for Anima both a “showcase” of its blockchain-enabled technology and the first phase of a plan to introduce more people to “ownable” AR assets, Herrity said. 
“We want to enable creators to make projects in AR,” he added. “We want to show that you can make interesting, magical, dynamic AR and sell it.” 

Updated that Onlybot NFTs have 3D modeling data attached to their tokens. Previous version said the tokens had GPS coordinates attached to them.

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