The seed investment for Shibuya, which allows NFT owners to interact with its own content, was headed by Andreessen Horowitz and Variant Fund.
Co-founded by artist Emily “pplpleasr” Yang, Shibuya announced today that it has acquired seed funding to extend its Ethereum-based, interactive video platform and onboard more producers.
Andreessen Horowitz and Variant Fund jointly led a $6.9 million financing round for Shibuya. Angel investors such as NBA player Kevin Durant, entertainer (and NFT originator) Paris Hilton, Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai, and Aave founder and CEO Stani Kulechov also participated in the round.
Shibuya was launched in March with the first episode of the original anime series “White Rabbit” by Pplpleasr and Maciej Kuciara, a concept artist for numerous Hollywood blockbusters.
The Web3 hook for Shibuya is that viewers may purchase NFTs that both fund new material and allow them the option to vote on the story’s course between chapters — a sort of choose-your-own-adventure story powered by decentralized governance. Despite the fact that the platform was initially self-funded, the subsequent crypto and NFT market losses encouraged the site’s founders to obtain funds in order to proceed.
“What became more important to me [than self-funding] was that we can continue building out this vision,” pplpleasr told , “with that safety in mind of being able to focus on what’s important, and not have to worry about the market.”
Since its debut, Shibuya has published the second installment of “White Rabbit,” with the third installment due in January. The business intends to use the funds to expand its workforce while it seeks prospective creative partners to build new interactive, NFT-powered film projects for Web3.
Pplpleasr, who rose to notoriety in Web3 with her NFT artwork for DeFi protocols, stated that she and Kuciara will be actively involved in the next wave of projects on the platform to assure high-quality outcomes. The goal is to “be the A24 of Web3,” she said, referring to the cult-favorite independent film studio behind films such as “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once”
“Content in Web3 right now is just bad,” pplpleasr said. “There’s a lot of money in Web3 to make content, but there’s not a lot of tastemakers.”
Shibuya intends to recruit creators who aren’t already immersed in Web3, and its long-term goal is to eventually make its tools available to creators without pplpleasr and Kuciara’s involvement.
The next chapter of “White Rabbit” will feature new interactive dynamics, according to pplpleasr, who added that the company is constantly “thinking five steps ahead” in terms of new methods to engage NFT holders. Shibuya recently collaborated with the popular profile picture (PFP) project Azuki, allowing NFT owners to vote on which character will make a cameo appearance in “White Rabbit.”
Pplpleasr thinks that creative people need a decentralized video platform like Shibuya to break away from the traditional Hollywood machine, and she said that if they didn’t build it, someone else would. She said that getting funding will make sure that Shibuya can continue to help creators make money from their work and involve fans in the process.
“It will enable a lot of creators to start transforming the way that content is made,” she explained, “if it is done right.”