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Tech Veteran-Backed Web3 Social Platform Plai Labs Raises $32M in Seed Round

Web3 social platform builder Plai Labs has raised $32 million in a seed funding round led by crypto investment firm a16z, the company said Thursday.

Plai Labs, led by several former executives of gaming studio Jam City and legacy social platform Myspace, aims to use the funding to grow its team and hire developers to build decentralized social platforms that couple Web3 and artificial intelligence.

Josh Brooks, executive vice president of marketing and operations at Plai Labs, is the former senior vice president of corporate marketing and recruiting at Jam City. He also previously served as vice president of programming and music at Myspace.

Brooks told CoinDesk that Plai Labs is working to lower the barriers to entry for new Web3 users through entertainment, social engagement and digital ownership.

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“The metaverse is a lonely place unless there's a social connection,” said Brooks. “We're thinking about what we know and how to apply that to the next iteration of what we believe is going to be a new way that people interact with one another.”

The Plai Labs founding team is comprised of Brooks; CEO Chris DeWolfe, who previously co-founded and led Myspace and Jam City; and Chief Technology Officer Aber Whitcomb, who previously served as the chief technology officer at Jam City and Myspace.

“We love this intersection where AI connects with and inspires creators,” Plai Labs wrote in its press release. “If there’s one thing we learned while starting Myspace and building games that get downloaded in the billions at Jam City it’s this: The experience needs to be fun and approachable to reach a broad audience of users.”

Conversations around AI’s place in Web3 have begun to surface, as software such as DALL-E and ChatGPT have gone mainstream. Whitcomb told CoinDesk that AI will play a vital role in its game Champion’s Ascension, combining the technology that Plai Labs has worked to train with non-fungible tokens (NFT).

“Imagine being able to use your AI-based profile and putting it in any situation, like a piece of art. That has implications for games and the metaverse, inside Champions and also some other social platforms that we're interested in developing down the road,” said Whitcomb.