Kakao, Naver invest in GoodGang Labs’ blockchain avatar platform

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An image from a tweet by GGLabs_Official, tags: naver goodgang - @GGLabs_Official (twitter)
An image from a tweet by GGLabs_Official – @GGLabs_Official (twitter)

GoodGang Labs has secured an additional $2 million from Kakao Investment, a venture investment subsidiary of tech giant Kakao. The Web3 metaverse startup also secured undisclosed investments from South Korean online platform Naver and its subsidiary Naver Z.

The partnership with these tech giants will enhance GoodGang’s user base and visibility. With KakaoTalk’s 50 million users in South Korea and Naver.com being the country’s most visited website, they can leverage their extensive user networks to expand GoodGang’s reach and attract a larger audience to its platform.

“Our company will utilize the investment funds to accelerate the development of the 3D avatar communications platform and AI representation technology, aiming to grow as a leading company in the next-generation communication market,” GoodGang Labs CEO Ahn Doo-Kyung said.

GoodGang Labs’ latest project

GoodGang Labs is currently developing a 3D avatar-based communication platform. The blockchain-based platform allows users to create and trade NFT avatars, contributing to the growing popularity of NFTs in the country.

“We’re gearing up to brew our vision to create a virtual environment where people can explore their true selves and interact with others in a way that’s never been possible before. The future starts here!” reads a tweet from its official Twitter account.

While the concept of video calling using motion-tracked avatars is not new, it has gained attention recently. For instance, San Francisco-based startup Hologram Labs secured funding last year to develop a plug-in that allows users to appear as their NFT avatars during video conferences on Zoom and Google Meet.

However, GoodGang takes a unique approach with its two-part strategy. The startup is running Kiki Town, a proprietary communication platform where users can interact as avatars, including avatars from other platforms like Line Next and Zepeto.

Kiki Town uses AI to animate avatars by inferring data from users’ webcams and mics. It only transmits motion and voice data instead of video data. This approach significantly reduces data usage, especially for high-resolution 4K videos, according to Ahn.

In the coming months, GoodGang Labs is preparing to launch GangHouse, a Web3 iteration of KiKiTown. This innovative platform will enable users to engage in conversations, broadcasts, and interactions using NFT avatars.

Aside from KikiTown, GoodGang Labs also offers a SaaS API that allows other communication platforms to integrate avatar animation functions. This service can be useful for social apps targeting Gen-Z users who may not have the resources to build their own avatar animation team.

NFT industry in South Korea

South Korea’s strong affinity for gaming and digital content has propelled the surge of NFTs in the country.

According to DappRadar, South Korea is the third-largest NFTs market globally, following the United States and China. The report also highlights a staggering 1,400 percent increase in NFT transactions in South Korea during the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

The success of South Korean blockchain-based games and platforms like Axie Infinity and Terra Virtua has contributed to the rising popularity of NFTs in the country. These platforms have attracted a substantial user base who actively invest in digital assets and collectibles.

Backed by Kakao and Naver, GoodGang plans to capitalize on the rising trend of NFT avatars in South Korea.

GoodGang Labs is actively incorporating blockchain technology and NFTs into its platform. Previously, it has sold out 3,333 units of proprietary avatar NFT called BeerGang on LINE Next’s global NFT platform DOSI.


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