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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Roblox, a San Mateo, Calif.-based social gaming platform for tweens and teens, will go public today via a direct listing. Its reference price of $45 per share would value the company just shy of $30 billion, and is the same price at which it raised private funding in January.

Why it matters: This is a major milestone for the creator economy movement, as Roblox last year paid game developers nearly $329 million.

Roblox raised over $850 million in VC funding, from firms like Altos Ventures, First Round Capital, Index Ventures, Meritech Capital Partners, Tiger Global, Altimeter and Dragoneer.

  • Over 7% of Roblox remains owned by a friends and family group who helped seed the company because they knew CEO Dave Baszucki when he was a teenager in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

The bottom line: "Spend just a few minutes in it, and you'll see how the games push you toward spending money, which is how you get the $30 billion valuation. Same deal with Fortnite or any other 'free' game that's constantly tempting you to pay," said Stephen Totilo, author of the upcoming Axios Gaming newsletter (sign up)

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to hold strategic Iran talks on Tuesday

Jake Sullivan. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty

Top national security officials from the U.S. and Israel will convene virtually on Tuesday for a second round of strategic talks on Iran, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The talks come two days after an explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility that experts consider a likely act of Israeli sabotage, and one day before the U.S. resumes indirect nuclear talks in Vienna over a return to the 2015 nuclear deal — a prospect that has raised anxiety levels in Jerusalem.

Updated 2 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

Police: Officer who shot Daunte Wright accidentally pulled gun instead of taser

The officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, outside Minneapolis Sunday appeared to have inadvertently pulled out her gun instead of a taser, police said.

Driving the news: "This appears to me, from what I viewed in the officer's reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright," Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters Monday.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: The warning signs of a longer pandemic — CDC director: Answer to Michigan COVID-19 surge is "to close things down."
  2. Vaccines: Former FDA chief offers reality check on vaccine passports.
  3. Economy: Jobs growth could be curbed by demands for higher wages.
  4. World: Facebook to push notifications about vaccine eligibility to 20 countries outside of the U.S. — Brits flock to pubs for first time in months as U.K. lockdown eases.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.