Canadian Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties, raised $305 million from a pool of investors that included NBA stars and other celebrities, such as Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Will Smith, and Ashton Kutcher.
The funding round was led by Coatue Management, and Dapper Labs was valued at $2.6 billion.
Dapper Labs Fundraising Demonstrates Surging Interest in NFTs
Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot has been making headlines amid the hype surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are blockchain-based digital assets with the ability to have independent value and represent something unique. NFTs are used in crypto art, music, and certificates, among others.
NBA Top Shot has become a symbol of the NFT success. The website enables basketball fans to purchase and become the owners of the digital copy of a video clip highlighting the best moments of the sport, such as a game-winning shot or a dunk. For example, a LeBron James dunk highlight was sold for over $200,000 in Ethereum.
While each tokenized video clip can be seen by anyone, it is owned by a single entity, whether it’s a basketball fan or a group of investors.
NBA Top Shot is still in beta testing five months after the launch. Nevertheless, the platform has managed to attract over 800,000 registered users and has handled about $500 million in sales.
Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou reportedly said:
“NFTs are breaking into the public consciousness in a big way. Whether it’s musical artists, gamers or sports leagues, everyone wants to explore how NFTs can change their business.”
Indeed, the NFT market is expanding at an impressive rate, and some tokens are sold for millions. For example, digital artist Beeble holds the record for the most expensive NFT ever sold. His artwork titled “Everydays: the first 5000 days” made him richer by $69 million. If you think it’s too much, the buyer told CNBC in his first TV interview that he had no regrets and would have bidden even higher.
Dapper Labs Expands to Other Businesses
Thanks to the success of NBA Top Shot, Dapper Labs is targeting other sports leagues and businesses. The company will use the raised funds to continue its expansion.
Dapper has already partnered with Warner Music Group, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and video game company Ubisoft. Gharegozlou explained:
“We want to bring the same magic to other sports leagues as well as help other entertainment studios and independent creators find their own approaches in exploring open platforms.”