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Muus Collective has raised $5 million for a fashion-centric studio to develop mobile games and digital collections for diverse audiences.
Los Angeles-based company and investor Griffin Game Partners seeks to promote diversity through inclusion, collaboration and empowerment in gaming, web3 and fashion. The company is gearing up to launch its Web3-enabled mobile game that lets players create, enjoy and monetize.
Moose’s focus on digital fashion innovation enabled by Web3 made a meaningful difference behind GGP’s investment. Top mobile fashion titles have generated more than half a billion dollars in lifetime revenue, while NFT games generated $2.3 billion in revenue in Q3 2021 alone, according to The Blockchain Gaming Alliance.
Griffin Gaming Partners led the round, and Emily Wang, managing director of Liontree and Griffin Gaming Partners helped get the startup off the ground.
“Consumer demand exceeds supply at the intersection of gaming, fashion and Web3,” Wang said in a statement. “The Muus team is experienced in building innovative experiences in all three areas, and we are excited to transform the consumer experience and define the future of this intersection together.”
Moose was started by Sarah Fuchs, its founder and chair. She has more than 20 years.
Building, operating and growing successful game studios. She soon
He served as Vice President and General Manager of Covet Fashion, the top fashion mobile gaming platform. That game was created by CrowdStar, acquired by Glu Mobile and re-acquired by Electronic Arts Glu Mobile.
She also directed production on The Sims Mobile and several other mobile games, and served as a producer on several PC and console titles (eg: Spore, The Sims 2, and The Godfather) at Activision, Maxis, and Electronic Arts. Fuchs is passionate about making space for female creators and creating products for a diverse audience.
Another co-founder, Amber Bezahler, is the CEO. She is a digital agency and executive who has led platform, e-commerce and creative initiatives for gaming brands.
Bezahler advised Metaverse Production Studios to create on-chain games and digital collections.
“We’re looking at the intersection of two revolutions — one in fashion and the other in gaming,” Bezahler said. “In the fashion world, designer brands are engaging with increasingly sustainable consumers through games and Web3 in ways that democratize fashion and strengthen diversity.”
Noting the growing diversity in gaming, Bezahler continued, “The gaming industry is seeing an influx of gamers, and more and more gamers are embracing creator-driven communities. We’re excited to launch our first Web3-enabled mobile game, allowing players to nurture their passion for fashion while blurring the lines between player and creator.
“We are thrilled to be founding Muus and supporting their exciting innovation in the digital fashion space,” said Nick Tuosto, founder of Griffin Gaming Partners and head of gaming at Liontree. Griffin continues to focus on finding female founders who build more tailored experiences for female audiences.
“As investors, the composition of our portfolio speaks volumes,” Wang added. “Nearly 30% of our portfolio companies have female founders or co-founders, compared to 19% of all U.S. venture capital deals. With nearly half of the players worldwide comprised of women, we’re excited to partner with groups like MUUS to bring women-centric products to life.”
Wang and Boeung Kim, partners at Griffin Gem, serve on Moose’s joint board of directors. Moose’s advisory board includes Mitch Matthews Spradlin, former CMO of Microsoft, and Phylicia Day, actress, producer, streamer and gamer.
On working on Covet Fashion, Fuchs said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to design products for women. Because as we all know, women now make up 50% of the mobile audience. And I wanted to create games for women. So in covetous fashion we doubled our bookings for four years. At that time, we had about $85 million last year, and then the E.A.A. We were bought.
After that, she took a break and found her founder through Griffin Gaming Partners/Leontree, where she created the studio.
Bezahler says she started out as an entrepreneur — she founded and eventually sold an advertising digital agency. She then joined the exec teams at Omnicom and WPP and worked with brands at the intersection of games and fashion. In games, she has worked with Activision, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Playstation and Xbox. In fashion and beauty, she has worked with Bottega Veneta, Holt Renfrew, L’Oreal, Agent Provocateur and Violet Grey. In recent years she has worked in private equity and operations.
“Meeting Sarah and the Griffin team was a dream come true,” Bezahler said. So that they can use their experience and passion for both gaming and fashion – that’s why we created the Muus Collective.
The first project is a Web3-enabled styling game that will be released on iOS and Android in the middle of next year.
“We really see it as a fashion playground where creatives can have fun with their style, express themselves and make a name for themselves,” Bezahler said.
Players can earn money based on their creations while playing.
“And this whole concept of decency is where the culmination of actions has a positive real-world social impact,” Bezahler said.
Of course, working with mobile game app stores, the company will need to release a Web3 enabled version that conforms to the rules of those platforms. Now, you can’t pay for things with cryptocurrency in the blockchain game and still work in app stores.
“Web3 is really putting the power back into the hands of the consumer, and in this case, allowing gamers to have more ownership over their data and their own assets,” Bezahler said. “We see a huge opportunity for us to open up a styled fashion genre where there’s more self-expression and the ability to take ownership and gain from your creations.”
Part of the hope is that the company will help women and non-binary people — as well as any fashion fans — get more involved in understanding NFTs and blockchain technology, Fuchs said. A digital portfolio strategy may be suitable for NFTs. But the first mission is to create a fun mobile game, Bezahler says.
“We want to grow our player base’s crypto fluency in a game that’s fun, but not compelling for core gameplay,” Bezahler said.
The company will announce more about the technique and game plan over time. If the company decides to use NFTs, “we want to make sure they have utility for the game,” Fuchs said.
But the company has seen some revolutions happen, with different audiences choosing to play games, especially on mobile, and a shift in physical and digital businesses, now with a big virtual component for businesses like fashion that were all physical, Bezahler said.
“I’ve been playing for 20 years and I’ve often been the only woman on the team,” Fuchs said. “For me, it’s very important that the people who make the game look like the people who play the game. And because of that, we’re building an incredibly diverse team. We are founded by a woman, we have a woman board.
As for hardcore gamers who seem to hate blockchain games, Bezahler says the company’s audience is largely outside of the original Web3 games.
“They’re curious,” she said. “They’re confused about how to get in. And we’re still seeing a lot of stimulation at the intersection of fashion and web3. Our game is creating those stepping stones that allow players to get their first taste of blockchain and its rewards in an easy and very decent way.
The company hopes there will be huge product deals coming into the space, and it’s positioning itself to find those partners.
Even though the big companies in games have acquired mobile game companies or big companies, mobile is still on the back burner, “and we have to be mobile first,” said Fuchs.
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