Amazon’s Alexa Fund, the venture capital arm of the tech giant, has led a $20 million Series A-4 funding round for the 3D character studio Superplastic, which creates “synthetic celebrities,” vinyl toys, and has previously released NFT collections on Ethereum and partnered with big brands like Gucci and Epic Games’ “Fortnite.”
Google Ventures, Galaxy Digital, Sony Japan, Animoca Brands, Craft Ventures, and others also participated in the round, bringing Superplastic’s total funding raised to $58 million to date.
As part of the arrangement, Amazon Studios will get a “first-look deal” with Superplastic, which is Hollywood speak for first dibs on any television series or film pitches that feature Superplastic’s characters. “The Janky & Guggimon Show,” starring two Superplastic virtual celebrities, is now in development at Amazon Studios, which has produced other edgy, quirky comedies like “The Boys” and “Fleabag.”
“Janky & Guggimon” will follow the two titular characters—a cat and a fanged rabbit, respectively—as they pursue fame and riches at all costs. Superplastic blurs the line between fiction and reality with their characters, as both Janky and Guggimon (and all of the company’s characters) have millions of followers on social media and are anthropomorphized animals who just so happen to be able to defy the laws of physics.
According to a statement, the two characters are “lazy and spectacularly incompetent best friends,” describing Janky as a “loveable idiot who spends his spare time scamming celebrities” and Guggimon as a “fashion icon and master manipulator who’s too narcissistic to care.”
In a statement, Janky explained why he’s excited about Amazon’s investment.
“We went frum [sic] snatchin’ Amazon boxes off porches, to getting Amazon bags, baby,” he said.
Paul Bernard, director of Amazon’s Alexa Fund, said in a statement that the fact that Superplastic’s characters “meet their customers where they are” (on social media and in video games like “Fortnite”) is a big part of the appeal.
“We see them as a new class of IP that is going to be increasingly relevant with younger generations,” Bernard said of Superplastic’s characters.
When asked for Amazon’s stance on Web3, Bernard told Decrypt via email that the fund is continuing to expand its reach.
“This includes technologies such as synthetics, and virtualization to generative AI and Web3, and more,” he said.
“Amazon wants to place strategic bets on these areas alongside our continued investment in startups furthering voice use cases, as it’s a part of our company’s core values to look towards the future at long-term investments that will position us well, even if it takes some time for these technologies to fully come to fruition in our day-to-day lives,” Bernard added.
So far, Superplastic has created over 25,000 NFTs across numerous collections, including a PFP collection ($3.2 million in total volume traded) and an NFT collab with Gucci (over $10 million in total volume). Their NFT collection Cryptojankyz, launched back in July 2021, has seen nearly $15.2 million in total volume traded.