Jadu Launches NFT Avatars for Upcoming Gaming Platform

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.

Jadu Launches NFT Avatars for Upcoming Gaming Platform
Photo courtesy of Jadu

With plans to sell thousands of NFT avatars, augmented reality (AR) startup Jadu is betting gamers will want to own and invest in personal video game characters.

At the end of August, the Los Angeles-based company will sell 11,111 robot avatars, called AVAs, which can be used as playable characters on Jadu’s upcoming mobile app. The NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, will also come with commercial rights, meaning holders could—hypothetically—slap a character’s likeness on a t-shirt and sell it.


The avatar sale is the latest step in Jadu’s quest to build an AR gaming platform that lets players roam the real world with their NFT avatars. The startup raised a $36 million Series A round in May to work on the concept.

NFTs are digital assets that can have their ownership and authenticity verified using blockchain technology. The much-hyped tech has been most commonly applied to digital art and collectibles, but gaming companies have also tried integrating NFTs into their virtual worlds. That has given gamers unique digital items to play with, while giving gaming companies a new revenue stream. In the future, avatar accessories could potentially be transferred from one game to another, too.

This idea has faced significant backlash. Some gamers and developers call NFTs in gaming exploitative and unfair, and Microsoft’s “Minecraft” recently announced it would no longer allow NFTs to integrate with the game. Microsoft subsidiary Mojang described NFTs as "digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion.”

In an interview with Venture Beat, Jadu founder and CEO Asad J. Malik said he “completely agree[s] with the gamer community’s critique of NFTs.”

“We are not a traditional gaming company,” Malik told the news outlet. “We are fundamentally an AR company and our mission is always to bring new forms of AR to the people in ways that are very experiential and immersive. We are about building forms of AR that haven’t existed before.”

Jadu has been developing an AR mobile app that connects to players’ Ethereum (ETH) wallets, letting them turn 3D animated NFTs into playable avatars. The app can integrate avatars from NFT collections such as CyberKongz and FLUFs.

Jadu has also sold avatar accessories like jetpacks and hoverboards as NFTs. The startup earned more than $5 million from initial NFT sales, Malik previously told dot.LA, and collects a 5% commission on the roughly $25 million in secondary sales those NFTs have done to date on platforms like OpenSea.

The company’s own avatars will be up for sale on Aug. 30, for 0.222 ETH, or about $365 at press time. All of the proceeds will go toward a “community treasury” aimed at expanding Jadu’s IP. The treasury, governed by Jadu AVA holders, will fund member events and projects, such as movies or music videos using their NFT characters.

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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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LA Tech Week: ADUs, Legacy Roadblocks and the Landscape for LA's Booming Proptech Startups

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech Week: ADUs, Legacy Roadblocks and the Landscape for LA's Booming Proptech Startups
Photo by Decerry Donato

Los Angeles has seen a rise in property technology (proptech) startups emerging over the last few years and the smaller players are beginning to take shape.

On Monday, at its home base in Culver City, 3D printing construction company Azure Printed Homes hosted a proptech meetup to kickstart L.A. tech week. A group of budding proptech founders shared successes, struggles and advice with those seeking to start their own companies. Renee Eng, anchor of Spectrum News 1 SoCal, moderated the discussion. Zuma co-founder Kendrick Bradley along with The BuildClub CEO and founder Stephen Forte shared the stage with Azure Printed Homes’ Ross Maguire.

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