SoftBank invests $150 million in South Korean metaverse platform Zepeto

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Zepeto, a fashion metaverse ecosystem developed by South Korea’s Naver Corp, has secured a $150 million investment from SoftBank.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the investment is part of a Series B funding round that puts the metaverse platform’s value at north of $1 billion. HYBE Co., the management firm behind popular K-pop boy band BTS, is also among a group of South Korean investors that contributed a further $41 million funding for Zepeto at the same $1 billion valuation.

Launched in 2018, Zepeto is among several emerging metaverse ecosystems in South Korea and. The WSJ reports that the platform attracts more than 2 million active daily users and it's mostly popular among females between the ages of 13 and 24.

Users create digital avatars of themselves on the Zepeto platform, which are then used to interact in the app’s virtual space.

The platform’s growing popularity has also attracted attention from global fashion giants like Gucci and Ralph Lauren. These brands have created virtual clothing items for sale on the platform.

Zepeto’s bustling high-fashion scene has also seen the platform’s creator economy become somewhat fashion-centric. “We’re probably the world’s largest virtual fashion marketplace,” Rudy Lee, Naver Z Corp’s chief strategy officer told WSJ.

SoftBank’s involvement in Zepeto’s Series B raise comes shortly after the bank — via its Vision Fund 2 arm — led a $93 million funding round for The Sandbox, another metaverse gaming platform.

Blockchain gaming and metaverse-related startups have begun to attract significant investment attention from venture capital firms. Avocado, a blockchain gaming guild, recently secured $18 million in funding from a group of investors including Solana Ventures.

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