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London Tech Week

Pokemon Go Developer Niantic Inc secures $300M at $9B valuations; unveil first-ever Bitcoin powered Metaverse

Image credits: Niantic

Niantic Inc, the augmented reality platform behind Pokemon Go, raised $300M from hedge fund Coatue at a valuation of $9B. 

The company will use the funds to invest in current games and new apps, expand the Lightship developer platform, and build out its vision for the Real-World Metaverse.

How did Niantic come into existence?

In 2010, Niantic Labs was developed as a startup within Google based out on an idea to leverage mobile devices and maps to create a new kind of gameplay based on three core principles: 

  • Exploration and discovery of new places
  • Exercise
  • Real-world social interaction with other people

In 2012, the company launched Field Trip, a location-based mobile app that acts as a guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around users. The game was first released on mobile devices, and later on other wearable and AR hardware.

Later that same year, Niantic Labs launched Ingress, the first of its kind, location-based, augmented reality mobile game. 

In 2015, Niantic Inc spun out of Alphabet Inc., as an independent, private company with $35M in Series-A funding from The Pokémon Company Group, Google, and Nintendo. 


Niantic Inc is on a mission to inspire people to explore the world together.

The company aims to build products that inspire movement, exploration, and face-to-face social interaction.

“We’re focused on building games that get people outside and exploring by enabling our players to have fun while visiting new places, learning about the world around them, and meeting new friends,” says the company. 

Partnership with Fold

Recently, the company has joined forces with bitcoin rewards and payments app Fold to unveil its first-ever augmented reality (AR) bitcoin earning a feature in the metaverse.

Fold AR is now currently available for users to play in beta in the Fold App. The app allows users to earn bitcoin and in-app benefits by exploring their physical surroundings.

“This is the easiest, most fun way to get your first piece of bitcoin,” expressed Fold CEO, Will Reeves.

The initial rollout of Fold AR on November 23rd, 2021 will allow a small number of users to access the experience for a limited time each day. Access will increase from November 23rd onwards.

“Anyone can use our app to earn bitcoin and other rewards by exploring the world around them. For us, it’s always been important to make participating in the bitcoin economy easy for anyone, regardless of education or technical expertise,” says Reeves. 

Lightship platform

Earlier this month, Niantic launched the Lightship platform, enabling developers globally to realise their visions for Augmented Reality and the Real-World Metaverse. 

The launch partners include Historic Royal Palaces, Coachella, Lifull, the PGA of America, Shueisha, SoftBank, Science Museum Group, TRIPP, Universal Pictures, the d artist JR and Superblue, and Warner Music Group. 

On the other hand, Niantic also announced Niantic Ventures, a $20M fund to help identify and fund the AR leaders of tomorrow.

Pikmin Bloom

Last month, Niantic in collaboration with Nintendo launched Pikmin Bloom, a smartphone app designed to spices up daily walks with the help of an adorable yet mischievous squad of Pikmin. 

It will be available on the App Store and Google Play over the coming days says the company. You can check out more about this game here

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