DNABlock Raises $7 Million To Help Web3 Creators Mint NFT Avatars

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

DNABLOCK used REPLIKANT to create ‘The Catalyst” an all-female supergroup of NFTs.
Courtesy of DNABlock

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Los Angeles-based DNABlock, which helps Web3 creators mint non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of avatars, has raised $7 million in what the startup calls a second seed round.

The funding was led by investors Sfermion, Solana Ventures, Animoca Brands and Non-Fungible Labs, with additional participation by the likes of SoftBank and Gaingels. The new round comes after the company previously raised $1.2 million in initial seed funding in September.


DNABlock plans to use the capital to further develop and scale its flagship Replikant software tool, which lets creators make video game-quality 3D avatars and animated content without needing experience in coding or animation. The startup, which launched in 2017, also plans to launch an L.A. studio for creators working on NFTs and add to its leadership ranks.

“When people began writing essays about the metaverse two years ago, we were already building the tools to make it happen.” DNABlock co-founder and CTO Luc Schurgers said in a statement. “It was clear from the start that procedurally generated avatars and animation were the future, so we assembled a team of game engine veterans with several AAA-titles under their belts and got busy.”

The firm says its Replikant technology is interoperable—meaning that an avatar’s code can jump from one Replikant-powered world to another. With more creators relying on blockchain technology to build their brands, Schurgers said other startups in the space are now “play[ing] catch-up” to DNABlock’s platform.

The company also announced that it has hired former YouTube virtual reality executive Scott Broock as its chief strategy officer. Broock also formerly served as head of digital strategy for animation studio Illumination.

Previous DNABlock investors include Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and Mike Shinoda of the rock band Linkin Park.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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