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Roblox said that it raised $520 million in a private financing round

Roblox, the kids online gaming company, said that it raised $520 million in a private financing round and announced separately that it will soon go public through a direct listing.

That’s gaming startup Roblox’s new valuation, following a $520 million private fundraising round this week. Roblox — a platform that allows users to create their own games and socialize in virtual spaces like concerts and birthday parties — saw a sevenfold increase in valuation since its last funding round in February, Axios reports. Put in Roblox terms, the company is now worth nearly three trillion Robux, the in-game currency used by the platform. The company has seen rapid growth through the pandemic: It has over 150 million monthly active users, and as Scott Galloway wrote for Marker, American kids spend an average of 2.6 hours a day on Roblox. Still, despite its popularity, the company has yet to turn a profit.

Altimeter’s investment comes “as the world moves toward a hybrid future – where online and offline community and learning co-exist,” said Brad Gerstner , the firm’s CEO. “While once viewed as a gaming platform, Roblox has emerged as a definitive global community connecting millions of people through communication, entertainment and commerce,” he added.

On December 22, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it would permit companies to raise capital through direct listings. This enables the San Mateo, California-based company’s existing shareholders (investors, employees, and executives) to float its shares on an exchange without hiring investment banks to underwrite the transaction as an IPO. It saves on underwriter fees, and companies that follow the direct listing process can avoid restrictions such as lockup periods that prevent insiders from selling their shares for a defined period of time.

Revenue in the third quarter jumped 91% from a year earlier to $242.2 million, Roblox said in its prospectus. Daily active users almost doubled in the period ended September to 36.2 million. A metric the company calls “hours engaged” more than doubled to 8.7 billion.

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Roblox allows users to play millions of user-created video games for free, or make new games using online tools that the company provides. The company makes its money by taking a share of funds that players spend to buy such extras as virtual clothes or pets for their avatars. The platform even has its own in-game currency, called “Robux.”

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