Yahoo raises $40M more for user-generated, low-code immersive gaming platform • TechCrunch

Yahoo, the Helsinki- and Shanghai-based immersive, user-generated, low-code gaming platform founded by a group of Chinese gaming experts, announced in January that it had raised a total of $50 million in funding ahead of its April launch. . Now, with 100,000 creators and hundreds of thousands of players, an additional $40 million has been raised to continue building the product — specifically to bring monetization features and more social hooks — as well as to hire more talent and business development.

Yahoo is describing this as a “series A+” for the previous round, specifically. We’re asking for an updated valuation, but for some context, when it was funded 11 months ago, I was told the price was “a few hundred million” (so a broad range of $300-500 million). The raise and valuation stood out against a backdrop of thin fundraising, especially for consumer startups.

Yahoo operates itself as a dual-headquarters company, but in this latest addition, the investors are all out of China and Greater Asia.

The investment is led by Singapore’s Temasek and China’s Internet giant Alibaba, while another Chinese company, 37 Interactive Entertainment, participates. Previously, the company received funding from 5Y Capital, HillHouse, Coatue, ZhenFund, Bertelsmann Asia Investments, BiliBili and Xiaomi.

The company now has over 150 employees and offices in Helsinki, Seoul and Shanghai. LinkedIn, which shut down operations in China last year, said about half of the company’s employees registered on the platform are from Shanghai.

“Metaverse” as a concept has seen a lot of hype, especially earlier this year – one of the biggest consumer internet businesses of our time, Facebook, led by a small segment, renaming itself “meta” and the concept.

Many of these have yet to be achieved, with one big bell meta hitting its own goals with its own efforts.

However, many agree that gaming is one of the few highlights, with players willing to pay for and use hardware and software to enhance the immersiveness of their experience.

Yahoo is taking that opportunity and combining it with two other big trends.

User-generated content has long been an integral part of gaming and entertainment, but recently it has taken on a more complex business-like dimension: people who previously created media for fun have now become “creators” who see commercial opportunities. Building content and using it to connect with the audience. Not all innovators — most aren’t at all, in fact — are “technical,” so attention (and funding) is being directed to companies building platforms to help innovators create and drive their business opportunities without much. Heavy technical lifting.

That’s where Yahah comes in. The company’s founders – Chris Zhu (CEO), Pengfei Zhang (COO) and Hao Min (CTO) – all worked together as engineers on the cross-platform game engine Unity – of course, it’s said that they were developed in collaboration with Unity – and their low-code platform. They want to do all that heavy lifting behind the scenes.

The new features the product will get will include additional “monetization modules” and other business advancements, Zhou said, aimed at creators and the businesses they’re building.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth at Yahoo in the pre-alpha phase, and we’re building on a strong foundation with over 100,000 creators signing up to create content with us,” Zhu said in a statement. “This funding marks our next step with YAHAHA by unlocking additional creator monetization modules. We will also continue to be a pioneer by investing in key areas of the community and partnering with brands that share our values, aligning ourselves with experts in game development, 3D asset creation and more. At YAHAHA , not only providing next-generation entertainment, we’re supporting next-generation creators and giving them the tools they need to create great content and an integrated virtual world platform. There are many opportunities waiting for us in the virtual world, and we want to be on the cutting edge with YAHAHA. It is important that we continue to invest in the community.

The big questions remain with Yahoo when it comes to monetization in the first version, will the monetization work, and are the games fun enough to keep players engaged? In the market, instead of a passing level, when players go to the next level.

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