Hong Kong-based Web3 company Animoca Brands has received a $50 million capital injection from Neom Company, a Saudi-owned smart city project funded by the country’s Public Investment Fund.
In a report by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the fresh funding received from Neom Company seals a new long-term partnership between both entities. Animoca Brands and Neom Company have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to streamline the Saudi Vision 2030 plan with Web3.
Animoca Brands says it will roll out a string of initiatives designed to trigger greater Web3 adoption while growing the local talent pool on the side. The injection of funds will be split into two phases, with the first coming in the form of convertible notes pegged at $2 per share, while the second tranche of funds from transactions in the secondary market.
“We are honored and excited to partner with and receive investment from Neom, one of the world’s most ambitious projects seeking to use innovation and technology to redefine how we live, work, and play,” said Animoca Co-founder Yat Siu.
“We have always referred to the growth of the Web3 ecosystem as the emergence of a new meta-nation, and now NEOM could well become the first region to fully harness the power of blockchain,” added Siu.
Neom, designed to be a leading technology hub in Saudi’s northwestern Tabuk Province, still has an uphill climb, with a proposed launch date set for 2039. For many experts, the obvious use case from a partnership with Animoca Brands is the metaverse, underscored by Neom’s search for a metaverse professional back in August.
Animoca Brands has considerable metaverse experience via its Sandbox offering and hundreds of investments across the ecosystem. The Web3 company hinted at launching digital IDs using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for its “Mocaverse” following the completion of a $20 funding round.
Early this year, the company slashed its $2 billion metaverse and NFT fund by 50% in the wake of macroeconomic headwinds and “dwindling” revenue. Despite gloomy markets, Animoca Brands has emerged as an industry leader with investments in over 300 Web3 companies under its belt.
An affinity with Saudi Arabia
Animoca Brands’ partnership with Neom results from a concerted effort by both entities. In Q1, Animoca Brands, in search of new frontiers, turned its attention to Saudi Arabia, with its young, tech-savvy population and growing gaming culture.
The company marked its interest in Saudi Arabia by investing in Manga Productions, a gaming firm with extensive ties to Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Apart from Saudi, Animoca Brands says it is keeping a close eye on other Middle Eastern countries and is ready to inject funds running into “millions of dollars” into the region.
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