A company kicked off the ASX last year because of its involvement with cryptocurrencies has achieved “unicorn” status with its latest capital raising.

Animoca Brands has raised $US88,888,888 ($113.5 million) at $1.10 per share, based on a valuation of US$1 billion ($1.28 billion), making the Victoria-incorporated, Hong Kong-based firm one of just a few Aussie “unicorns”.

Animoca shares were trading at just 18c when Animoca was kicked off the bourse in March 2020, giving the company a valuation of around $175 million.

Investors in the capital raising included Kingsway Capital, RIT Capital Partners (formerly Rothschild  Investment Trust), HashKey Fintech Investment Fund, AppWorks Fund, LCV Fund, Huobi,  Octava, Ellerston Capital, Perennial, Axia Infinity Ventures, SNZ, Liberty City Ventures,  Metapurse, and others.

Co-founder and chairman Yat Siu said the company is “deeply honoured” to have such investors that share the company’s vision for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) “redefining equity and property rights online”.

“This strategic capital raise firmly establishes Animoca Brands as one of the leading  and most valuable companies in the NFT space, not just in Asia but globally.” 

The company has several blockchain games including F1 Delta Time, a Formula One car-racing game; The Sandbox, a Minecraft-like game; and MotoGP Ignition, a motorcycle racing game that involves managing and owning the vehicles. Animoca also has investments in NBA Top Shot creator Dapper Labs and NFT marketplace Opensea.

Stockhead profiled Animoca last month, reporting that the company was at heart of the global craze for NFTs.

Manuel Stotz, the founder and CEO of Kingsway, called the emergency of digital property rights, whether via Bitcoin or NFTs, “perhaps the greatest opportunity for financial inclusion for the bottom ~3 billion frontier and emerging market consumers, as well as an opportunity for a more decentralised and thus more equitable global internet.”

Ellerston Capital executive chairman and portfolio manager Ashok Jacob agreed that NFTs — digital assets that can’t be copied, only traded — were creating a more equitable economic model for the internet.

“Animoca Brands is at the forefront of ushering in this evolution that will lead to an explosion of the digital economy and more  equitable flows of money and power on the net,” Jacob said.

Other Australian unicorns – private companies with a valuation of at least $1 billion – include graphic design platform Canva and fintechs Airwallex and Judo Bank.

To commemorate the Animoca achieving unicorn status, Animoca plans to issue investors, partners and supporters with — what else? — an NFT.

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