TCG Capital Management led the Series A round, with Andreessen Horowitz and Red Beard Ventures also playing a part.
Zed Run launched in 2019 but caught fire this spring, after limiting the sales of its horses and capitalizing on a general surge of interest in blockchain tech. Horses now range from $130 to $45,000 based on their programmed characteristics, and they can be run in real-money challenges. The top three finishers in each race are paid prizes in the Ether cryptocurrency. In June, Zed Run reintroduced breeding to the platform, recreating a world of stud fees online. (Among other restrictions, owners are not allowed to breed horses with their “brother, sister, parents, or grandparents.”) Zed Run claims 14,000 unique stable owners.
“What the team at Virtually Human Studio is building fundamentally alters what it means to be a fan,” TCG VP Jacob Smilovitz said in a statement. “VHS is building the future of virtual entertainment, digital ownership and collaborative consumer relationships, and we look forward to supporting them as they develop new experiences across a variety of verticals.”
“The funding represents a significant milestone that will allow us to accelerate the growth of Zed Run and showcase the revolutionary ways blockchain technologies have the potential to change the sports, entertainment and gaming industries by redefining the fan experience,” the company wrote in an email to users Wednesday morning. “Rest assured, we are just getting started.”
Executives have discussed the possibility of creating virtual events around the site’s races. CEO Chris Laurent’s long-term vision for the platform includes the opportunity for people to make a career on Zed Run, with potential titles ranging from stable or race track owner to breeder and accessory designer.