As the NFT sector continues to waddle through a period of icy consumer interest, some collections are diving deep, exploring new waters and expanding their horizons into the physical realm in hopes of reaching more people and growing their brand.
Chubby penguinsan (admittedly cute) NFT collection that doubles as a web3 IP company is releasing a line of toys called Pudgy Toys, company CEO Luca Netz told TechCrunch+ in an exclusive interview.
The penguin cuddly toys are being made in collaboration with PMI, which also produces toys for Fortnite and Among Us, according to Netz.
The company sees physical toys as a “Trojan horse” for the web3 ecosystem and NFTs. “Unfortunately, NFT’s revenues are not sustainable and not really growing,” Netz acknowledged, adding that the toys are meant to make the company more sustainable. “Second, we wanted to create an IP that transcends this ecosystem, and the way I know how to do that is through physical products.”
Launched in 2021 and acquired by Netz in April 2022, the 8,888-NFT collection has grown to include real-world products and experiences ranging from live events to physical goods (like these toys).
The company has chosen and licensed 16 SKUs inspired by Pudgy Penguin NFTs from the original collection. The 16 NFTs were chosen based on aesthetics, different characteristics and how involved the NFT’s owner is with the community, Netz noted.
“Each toy is an NFT that lives on the blockchain and that NFT is licensed directly by the holder,” Netz noted. “So every time one of those toys is sold, they earn a royalty forever.”
The initial launch will include approximately 100,000 toys, priced from $5 to $35, that will be sold online and through international retailers. Each toy comes with a birth certificate and QR code that unlocks a series of NFTs or a trait box on its online platform, Pudgy World, Netz said.
“Pudgy World is where you build your character, play mini-games and interact with other users,” he added.
The company’s efforts appear to be paying off: it recently raised a $9 million seed round. Of course, this isn’t the first NFT-focused company to raise capital, but the funding indicates that off-blockchain efforts are a good way for popular digital collections to build on their brand and raise outside capital.