Rumors confirmed. Vancouver’s Dapper Labs has raised USD $305 million in an enormous financing round led by the tech-focused investment firm Coatue that values the three-year-old startup at USD $2.6 billion.
“It’s just more fuel in the tank,” Roham Gharegozlou, Dapper Labs’ CEO and founder, told Forbes, characterizing the funding as “a big bet on open platforms.”
The round also included NBA legend Michael Jordan as well as current players and funds including Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Kyle Lowry, as well as entertainment and music heavyweights including Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, Will Smith and Keisuke Honda’s Dreamers VC, Shawn Mendes and Andrew Gertler’s AG Ventures, Shay Mitchell, and 2 Chainz. Other strategics participating include a16z, The Chernin Group, USV, Vancouver’s Version One, and Venrock.
Dapper Labs uses the power of play to deliver blockchain-based experiences in the real world. Getting their start with collecting and breeding digital at CryptoKitties—the world’s most successful blockchain game—the Vancouver studio is now letting basketball fans trade jaw-dropping NBA basketball highlights with NBA Top Shot.
The NBA Top Shot project is now the most popular nonfungible token (NFT) series by volume after being launched in October 2020 and has already handled more than three million transactions, completed nearly $500 million in sales, and registered more than 800,000 accounts since it launched into open beta.
For NBA Top Shot, video highlights—or moments—that are put together by the NBA and sold in packs as a kind of digital sports card. The packs are priced according to the rarity of the clips they contain, from $9 to $230 for three to ten or so moments.
“NBA Top Shot is one of the best demonstrations we’ve seen of how quickly new technology can change the landscape for media and sports fans,” Kevin Durant said in a statement. “We’re excited to follow the progress with everything happening on Flow blockchain and use our platform with the boardroom to connect with fans in a new way.”
Dapper Labs gets a cut of the trading done among users, collecting 5% of each transaction on the secondary market, such as the LeBron James moment that traded for USD $208,000 last month.
Dapper Labs was named to Techcouver’s 10 Homegrown B.C. Startups to Watch in 2021.