Home » Zebra Labs raises $5M to help Chinese celebrities enter the metaverse • TechCrunch

Zebra Labs raises $5M to help Chinese celebrities enter the metaverse • TechCrunch

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In June, Chinese pop-punk singer Wowkie Zhang released a music video. In this music video, we meet his virtual character in a richly colored animated world reminiscent of Pixar films. The avatar wears Gen Z-style silver hair, an oversized yellow and black sweatshirt, baggy pants, and performs hip-hop moves to Chan’s catchy, lighthearted tunes.

A virtual character is not a one-time creation. Instead, his Zebra Labs, which produced the video, turned him into reusable intellectual property that can be purchased as his NFT on the market or featured in other virtual events such as video games. I can do it. Zebra Labs founder and CEO Scarlett Li told TechCrunch the startup is waiting for the bull market to return to launch her NFT project.

Zebra Labs aims to “create intellectual property that is deeply integrated with content,” and “operate virtual idols like celebrities,” says Li. Some of the avatars it creates are based on real-life stars, while others are original characters. To generate revenue, Zebra Labs develops an audience for idols and monetizes their fan base through short films, images, and social posts. We also license virtual idols to our partners for a fee.

This is a video of Zebra Labs trying to build a fan base for Zookie, who has a cameo in Wowkie Zhang’s music video. The Douyin (Chinese version of TikTok) character has created a ton of clips of him.

Li, who previously organized some of China’s biggest music festivals, believes that NFTs, which are already widely used to authenticate intellectual property rights, can be used to attract more fans. “At 30, I lose interest in exploring music, so virtual environments can invigorate visualization. [of music] Also. “

NFTs also provide a more direct revenue stream for emerging musicians. In China, music streaming giants owned by Tencent and NetEase dominate music distribution. These platforms tend to allocate user traffic to musicians who already have a lot of fans. “NFTs can change that.”

As a music festival veteran, Li is excited about the possibilities of online concerts.She compares to Ariana Grande’s benchmark fornite concert, the singer descends to a colorful island in a virtual appearance in a shimmering silver dress and a sparkling white ponytail. Zebra Labs is in talks with several game companies to launch virtual her concerts for Chinese artists within games like Minecraft and metaverse platforms by 2023, Li says.

Zebra Labs recently raised $5 million to advance its Metaverse vision. Funding came from Chinese gaming company NetDragon and Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation. According to Li, hiring a Japanese investor allows the startup to learn from his long IP management history in Japan, exemplified by the success of his virtual idols like Hatsune Miku. The company is also backed by his SOSV, his VC known for its network of accelerators.

Following their collaboration with Wowkie Zhang’s music video, which has garnered nearly 40 million clicks across a series of online channels, Zebra Labs has five other artists in its pipeline. We also plan to release Zhang’s digital twin by the first quarter of 2023.

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