NFTs are suitable for more than just digital art. Virtually Human Studios (VHS) created a digital horse racing game called Zed Run that operates on NFTs. All bets are on now that venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz are investing millions in the company's success.
With its first official private funding round in the books, VHS will be looking to expand Zed Run and garner more attention to its NFT-centric game.
Andreessen Horowitz participates in $20 million Series A for Zed Run creator
VHS achieved a successful Series A funding round worth an aggregate $20 million. The lead investor is The Chernin Group (TCG), a firm that "invests in companies that define culture." Other TCG investments include Headspace and Barstool Sports.
Meanwhile, Andreessen Horowitz was also involved in the funding round. Andreessen is widely known for its seed and venture funding (more recently in the crypto space) with top active portfolio positions like BuzzFeed and Scribe Therapeutics. Key Andreessen exits include Affirm and Instagram.
Red Beard Ventures closed out the round. Red Beard is bringing the democratization trend to VC. Currently, it holds a position in Dapper Labs.
How does Zed Run work?
Zed Run is a one-of-a-kind offering. Its digital horse racing game works by getting participants to purchase NFTs (non-fungible tokens). These NFTs are attached to individual digital racehorses, each of which maintains unique racing and breed qualities.
Developer VHS was founded in September 2019 by founders Chris Laurent, Geoffrey Wellman, and Rob Salha.
Zed Run's success started in 2019.
Since the launch of its game in 2019, VHS has managed to sell $30 million in racehorse NFTs. While the horses exist in a digital plane, the money is tangible.
In the game, players can spend up to $45,000 on racehorse NFTs. If you want to buy entire stables, expect to pay as much as (or, in some cases, more than) $250,000.
What VHS plans to do with the Zed Run funding
With $20 million to play with, VHS has its eyes on expansion. Using the funding, it plans to augment the game and make it a more holistic reality to exist in. For example, it's looking to implement features where "players can work in professions such as stable owner, race track owner, breeder, accessory designer, and more," according to VHS CEO Laurent.
Jacob Smilovitz of TCG said about the developer, "What the team at Virtually Human Studio is building fundamentally alters what it means to be a fan." He also said, "VHS is building the future of virtual entertainment, digital ownership and collaborative consumer relationships, and we look forward to supporting them as they develop new experiences across a variety of verticals."
Given the fact that VHS has been selling NFTs since before the mainstream boom, its success could be more set in stone than skeptics might realize. However, it's a niche offering, and it will take some convincing to get the general public behind the game before additional fundraising rounds.