Pudgy Penguins raises $9 million, survives the NFT fall


  • Pudgy Penguins CEO Luca Netz discusses how the project bounced back from the mess to create the future.
  • At a time when many NFT projects plunged, Pudgy Penguins grew successfully.
  • The project aims to create the Web3 IP brand of the future with the support of its partners and community.

NFT project Pudgy Penguins performed exceptionally in 2021, a time when the market was affected by the bull run. After that, the project collapsed and was bought by a serial entrepreneur. Currently, the collection is not only protected, but the team has generated funding while expanding its growth. 

According to the recent announcement, the project has raised $9 million in seed funding led by investment company 1kx in collaboration with Kronos Research, CRIT Ventures, Big Brain Holdings, Old Fashion Research, and LayerZero Labs’ founders.

Head of investor relations at Pudgy Penguins, Vi Powlis, shared that the fundraise represents the firm’s consistent flexibility in the bear market. 

Released in July 2021, Pudgy Penguins’ unparalleled surge was driven by a story in The New York Times.

However, the performance didn’t last long, and the community was in a complete mess by early 2022 when a co-founder’s previous Web3 plans and actions sparked controversy. 

In April 2022, serial entrepreneur Luca Netz bought the project IP from the founders for $2.5 million. He even said that the project didn’t have funds worth millions of dollars accumulated by certain NFT projects as well as startups during the bull run.

Netz shared that Pudgy Penguins required a real operator to move ahead. However, soon after, the sales volume of NFTs fell when the crypto market collapsed, leading to fewer creator royalties from sales originating from secondary market sales. Growing the project in such conditions required the team to be extremely scrappy. 

The last year saw a number of NFT projects lose major value. For instance, in late April 2022, BAYC fell from a massive starting price of over $429,000 to the current price of $82,6001. During the same time, Pudgy Penguins managed to spike from $4,365 to $8,170.

Pudgy Penguins has released physical toy projects as well as other merchandise, besides creating an advisory board with Hasbro and Meta leaders. Recently, the project signed a representation deal with WME. Moreover, to date, the project has generated a total trading volume worth around $250 million.

Other than allowing the collection to explore recognized plans, Pudgy Penguins has expanded its status among NFT enthusiasts.

Netz said that he knows the expectations of users for the project. A Pudgy Penguin was the first NFT he ever purchased, after which he traded NFTs worth millions of dollars. 

His next purchase was the Pudgy IP, as he thought it had everything required to drive the Web3 community and extensions, including entertainment media and products. Adding on, he said that it is both comprehensive and family-friendly with a passionate community of NFT owners backing it.

Several projects claim to create major IP, but for Netz, making it happen means ensuring that Pudgy Penguins has an extensive impact. The project has garnered around 3 billion views on its official GIFs, in addition to tens of millions of views on Instagram. Now the seed funding and WME contract might push it towards an even wider audience. Moreover, it has over 40,000 members on Discord.

Netz said that he looks at the project like an influencer. Pudgy Penguins is fantastic in its potential to reach where it aims to be.