Yahaha raises $40 million to democratize 3D content creation

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User-generated content startup Yahaha has raised $40 million in funding to launch a platform that makes it easy for content creators and non-technical people to create 3D animations and games.

Yahaha already has a community of more than 100,000 developers and 200,000 registered users for its platform. It is actively creating studio partnerships, accelerator programs, global events, game jams, and more.

The funding will allow the Yahaha team to recruit talent from the games industry, expanding its presence in the US and Asia Pacific. The company has dual headquarters in Helsinki and Shanghai.

Temasek and Alibaba led the round and included investments from 37 Interactive Entertainment. The increase will be used to further grow Yahaha’s product, community, staff, and ecosystem. Since its early alpha launch in April 2022, Yahaha has seen creators join its platform on PC and macOS, with hundreds of thousands of gamers playing its UGC games on the mobile app.

yahaha origins

Chris Zhu is the founder and CEO of Yahaha.

Yahaha was founded in October 2020 by a talented group of Unity veterans Chris Zhu (CEO), Pengfei Zhang (COO), and Hao Min (CTO). The platform aims to democratize 3D content creation, helping creatives of all skill levels create their own games, worlds, and social spaces.

“Our vision is to try to democratize creativity so that everyone can build games,” Zhu said. “And the games we define here are not just simple or casual games. We believe these can be real-time interactive multiplayer games in 3D and should be playable instantly.”

The company had three previous funding rounds and is now closing a big one. The company has already released a product and half of its users are developers.

You don’t need to know how to code to build 3D spaces in Yahaha.

Yahaha has no-code tools that make creating a game as easy as drag and drop, as well as extensive easy-to-use tutorials, the company said. Users can create Web2 games for mobile or PC.

This new investment follows a previous Series A raise of $50 million, bringing the total funding secured by Yahaha to nearly $100 million over two years.

Yahaha will continue to support creators by providing more tools and new features such as AI and cloud technology. Tracks for the introduction of creator monetization modules are currently underway, with more details to be announced soon.

growth ahead

Yahaha wants anyone to be able to build games.
Yahaha wants anyone to be able to create games.

Yahaha has more than 170 employees with offices in Helsinki, Seoul and Shanghai. Yahaha has plans to collaborate with brands to bring new IPs to their metaverse. It will announce new industry and studio partnerships. Its current partners include content creators in the 3D asset development space, such as Synty Studios, CGTrader, and Dabeeo.

“We’ve seen fantastic growth in Yahaha throughout the early alpha stage, and with over 100,000 creators signing up to create content with us, we’re building on a strong foundation,” Yahaha CEO Chris Zhu said in a statement. . “This funding round signifies the next step we are taking with Yahaha, opening more creator experience monetization modules. We also continue to pioneer by investing in key areas of the community and building relationships with brands that share our values, aligning with experts in the fields of game development, 3D asset creation and more.”

Zhu hopes to double or triple the team. Since a lot of people have been laid off, Zhu thinks it’s a good opportunity to hire some of those people and give them jobs.

Zhu added, “With Yahaha, we are not only ushering in the next generation of entertainment, we are supporting the next generation of creators and giving them the tools and integrated virtual world platform they need to create great content. There is a litany of opportunities awaiting us in the virtual world, and we want to stay ahead of the curve with Yahaha. To do this, it is imperative that we continue to invest in our team and the community that has gotten us to where we are today.”

big ambitions

Building in 3D at Yahaha.

Unity’s goal is to democratize game development with its accessible game engine. Zhu also believes that non-technical people can create games. And he believes that technicians can also unleash their own creativity. The Yahaha teams try to do a lot of programming behind the scenes to take the difficulty out of creating games, animations, and user-generated content.

“We build everything as components, like playing with Legos,” Zhu said. “But you still need to have some knowledge about games. Now we have Lego pieces that everyone can play with.”

The team separates the components of the game so that people can put things together while creating. Unlike Roblox, you don’t have to know how to code, Zhu said. Yahaha is trying to appeal to adults and not just children.

“Also, the graphics have high fidelity, where you can create games for mobile devices and consoles,” Zhu said. “It’s much more like Unity and not like Roblox. We want everyone on our platform. Independent developers can create whatever they want with no limitations on assets, graphics, or multiplayer. We are trying to allow everyone to build a virtual space in 3D.”

The company enabled monetization on the platform by opening an asset market where players can sell the things they create. Yahaha gets 30% while creators get 70%. The company is working on Web3 technology in addition to its Web2 technology. Zhu also hopes to move to a metaverse platform.

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