The crypto may be down, but Jack Lu and Zhouxun Yin continue to grow.
The co-founders of Magic Eden, the top Solana
Magic Eden now becomes the third NFT marketplace to achieve unicorn status alongside $13 billion OpenSea and $7 billion LooksRare. The funding was co-led by Electric Capital and Greylock and it comes three months after the company announced its $27 million Series A in March 2022.
“Magic Eden’s ability to keep pace and drive innovation in a rapidly changing NFT market is extremely impressive,” said Avichal Garg, co-founder and managing partner of Electric Capital. “It’s one of the most dynamic and user-centric companies on Web3.”
In the nine months since its launch, Magic Eden has become the largest Solana-based NFT marketplace, holding around 97% of daily NFT purchases on the platform, according to Dune Analytics.
Unlike traditional NFT platforms, Magic Eden functions as both a primary and secondary merchant, meaning NFT creators can launch NFT collections through the platform’s “Launchpad” feature, as well as sell coins qu created or purchased on the secondary market. It features popular collections based on Solana, including Degenerate Ape Academy and Solana Monkey Business.
This vertical integration stems from Lu and Yin’s vision of NFTs as the initial ramp into the Web3 ecosystem. “It’s the fun, social, cultural, and very emotionally connected aspects of a blockchain or Web3 use case,” says CEO and co-founder Jack Lu. Web3 using NFT technology.”
However, taking this next step will not be easy.
For starters, NFT trading volume and prices have plummeted along with the rest of the crypto market. Solana is also a much less popular blockchain compared to Ethereum
Solana’s reputation has also taken a major hit as the chain reported five major outages in 2022, a major concern for blockchains that are never meant to go down. These reboots have helped drive the price of SOL, Solana’s native token, down almost 80% so far in 2022. Magic Eden plans to use this cycle to help it move away from its addiction to towards Solana and explore multi-channel options.
Finally, with this new round of funding, the Magic Eden team plans to expand their NFT game offerings. The market already lists 35 blockchain-based games with over 430,000 monthly users, per its website. Among the games listed on the website are Aurory and Genopets, two established game collections based on Solana.
For the co-founders, the gaming industry already has the key elements of NFTs – a strong community and exchange of goods within the gaming ecosystem.
“We realized that this is actually very similar to how people think about NFTs and what people do with them,” says co-founder and COO Zhouxun Yin. “When you combine the two, native Web3 and games, you get true ownership of those things.”
The team is betting that this desired integration, combined with these new funds, will help Magic Eden weather what could be an extended crypto winter.
“A downturn, especially when the business is as well capitalized as Magic Eden and which has generated very strong cash flow, is actually a very good position to acquire that talent and just develop it,” says Mike Duboe, partner. at Greylock.
“There’s no better time to build than in a bear market,” Yin adds.