Today, MetaApp announced the completion of its $100 million Series C financing, led by SIG Asia and followed by with previous shareholders including CCV, Sky9 Capital, Lighthouse Capital. This recorded the largest single fundraising in the Metaverse sector in China, followed the investment. MetaApp's main product is the platform 233 Playground, which helps navigate the hurdles of publishing in China.
The money raised will be invested in the construction of a disruptive multi-person real-time interactive social community, where everyone can explore, discover and create.
Tim GONG, Managing Director of SIG Asia, said: “MetaApp has grown into China’s fastest-growing mobile interactive entertainment platform in only 3 years since establishment. The company has leveraged its unique technology and expertise to pin its current platform, 233 Paradise’s leadership position in the market.
"Its leading technical capabilities in areas such as recommendation facilitates effective consumption of huge amount of interactive entertainment content, laying a solid foundation for building a creator ecosystem. The team’s unique insight and understanding of the mobile internet and interactive entertainment industry is also impressive. It is our honor to be able to participate in MetaApp’s new round, and I look forward to witnessing more breakthroughs and leaps in the future of the company."
ZHOU Wei, Founding Partner of CCV, said: “Since CCV led MetaApp’s A round in 2018, we have continued to increase our stake in each subsequent round. As the leading UGC platform for interactive entertainment in China, MetaApp’s unique technical barriers enable it to be a key user hub. They have created an ecosystem for developers and users, with strong platform and networking potential.
"HU Sen is a successful serial entrepreneur. The team is a rare breed with well-round capabilities in technical background, business acumen, business model innovation and user growth. They share a grand vision of metaverse, via a route of “entertainment + social”, creating social interaction or even potentially global digital citizenship, based on gaming as the “meta” media form. The possibility and room for imagination are limitless."
Along with the evolvement of the internet ecosystem and game engine technology, metaverse has become a recent hot spot for investment in VC industry. Metaverse derives from “Meta-Universe”, which refers to a virtual world that allows people to be fully immersed in it, to communicate, create and have fun. It is the end game for the current mobile internet era, and the embryonic form of the next-gen virtual world.
In 2017, HU, who successfully exited from his previous venture Fengyun Livestreaming, called on Max ZHOU, his junior fellow at Yale and University of Science and Technology of China who just returned from Silicon Valley, and DUAN Jinwei, a star Computer Science graduate from Tsinghua University. Three techies have since then rallied to build a metaverse for all ages.
A similar platform, Roblox is welcoming its NASDAQ IPO today, with a pre-market valuation at around US$30 billion. The company shares an effort in building metaverse for juniors in the Western world. According to Reuters, 75% of children aged 9-12 in the United States use Roblox. Compared to Roblox's relatively young user group, MetaApp is committed to creating a metaverse for all age groups in China and abroad - an interactive entertainment platform based on high quality and real-time rendered world, and in-depth recommendation algorithms – in an attempt to reach a broader base of users. The company has only been established for 3 years, and has thus far raised nearly total financing of Roblox when it’s 13 years old, which reflects investors’ recognition and strong confidence in the high-value ecosystem of MetaApp.
MetaApp has undergone 2 phases of growth: First provides developers with traffic and monetisation products, solving their pain points: "Developers who make good content are usually bad at growth, and those who are gurus in growth usually don’t produce quality content." The game industry is filled with “copycat” products that only optimises CPI. Platform developed by the team with sandbox virtualisation technology has helped quality content providers reach a large base of loyal users. By 2020, MetaApp recorded a total of 200 million activated users, enabled over 1 billion accesses, and maintained a high growth of daily active users at over 300% y-o-y.
In the 2nd phase, MetaApp further moves up the chain to solve problems in content creation. It is providing developers tools and services to significantly lower the threshold to create and host multiplayer content. Their effort in supporting creative ideas and diverse, high-quality user generated content has resulted in high degree of user satisfaction and loyalty among developers and enthusiast communities.
Max ZHOU, co-founder of MetaApp, said “Following the financing, MetaApp will continue to double down on talent acquisition, and plans to introduce a strong Chief Product Officers, and tech leaders on architect, client, server, operation and maintenance, as well as engine R&D. We wish to have more like-minded people to join us in exploring the future of metaverse."
Founded in 2017, CCV was founded by former KPCB China Managing Partner ZHOU Wei along with his TMT team. It currently manages 4 funds totaling US$520 million and RMB 1.5 billion, focusing on early and growth-stage investment in industrial internet, cutting-edge technologies, and new demand. Promoting the growth of China's technology industry through investment.
CCV welcomed two IPOs of Wanka Online (HK: 1762) and Que Chen (SHSE: 605183) in just over 3 years. Other well-known portfolio invested by the team include: JD.com, JDT, Himalaya, CreditEase, Rong360, VenusTech, Tantan, PerfectCorp, FlashHold, CowaRobot, Shukun Technology, Yunhu Technology, etc.
MetaApp was established in 2017, and is best known for its 233 Playground platform. Founding CEO HU Sen graduated in first place from Computer Science at the University of Science and Technology of China, and as Guo Moruo Award winner. He received a full scholarship for Ph.D. study at Yale, and dropped out to found his first venture Octopus TV and Fengyun Liverstreaming in China with successful exit.
Co-founder Max ZHOU was admitted to the University of Science and Technology of China at the age of 14, and received his postgraduate degree in Computer Science from Yale. He is leading product and growth at MetaApp. Co-founder DUAN Jinwei is a star graduate of Tsinghua University, and now leading tech development at MetaApp. Currently, MetaApp is the leading UGC platform for interactive entertainment in China, and recently completed its Series C financing. The company is backed by investors like CCV, SIG Asia, DST Global, Sky9 Capital and Ceyuan Venture.