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More investors are betting on virtual influencers like Lil Miquela

Brud, the company behind the virtual celebrity Lil Miquela, is now worth at least $125 million thanks to a new round of financing the company is currently closing. Meanwhile, new venture-backed companies like the superstealthy Shadows, SuperPlastic, and Toonstar are all developing virtual characters that will launch via social media channels like Snap and Instagram, or on their own platforms.
It’s all an effort to test whether audiences are ready to embrace even more virtual avatars — including ones that don’t try to straddle the uncanny valley quite as blatantly as Miquela and her crew.
The investors backing these companies say it’s the rise of a new kind of studio system — one that’s independent of the personalities and scandals which have defined a generation of Vine, YouTube, and Instagram stars and it’s attracting serious venture dollars.
“The way I look at it… a lot of it is going to be like any kind of content studio,” says Peter Rojas, a partner at the New York investment firm, Betaworks Ventures.  “In 2019 and 2020 we’re going to see a lot of these… we’re going to see a lot of people putting out a lot of stuff.”
Los Angeles-based Brud is by far the most established of this new breed in the U.S. (at least in terms of the amount of money it has raised). Last year the company scored at least $6 million from investors including Sequoia Capital, BoxGroup, and other, undisclosed, investors.

The makers of the virtual influencer, Lil Miquela, snag real money from Silicon Valley
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