The future just got even brighter for the Vancouver-based company, which has been an early trailblazer in the NFT world.
Dapper Labs, the company behind the Flow blockchain upon which the wildly successful NBA Top Shot (and CryptoKittes, if you’re into that) was built, announced the conclusion of a recent round of funding Tuesday, raising $305 million from a list of high-profile investors including Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Will Smith.
The most recent round of investors also included several NFL and MLB athletes, signaling that NBA Top Shot is just the beginning for the Vancouver-based company, which now has an estimated valuation of $2.6 billion.
“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,” Durant said. “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.”
Last October, NBA Top Shot’s release came at a time when non-fungible tokens — digital collectibles verified by blockchain technology — began skyrocketing in popularity, both inside and outside of the sports world. Since its launch, Dapper Labs has overseen more than $500 million in sales and added more than 800,000 unique registered users in its platform’s public beta.
“NFTs are not in a bubble; we are seeing adoption happen at a very fast rate right now. NFTs as a whole will be a highly disruptive space for a ton of industries and digital economies, and this is only the start,” Zach Burks, Founder and CEO of NFT marketplace Mintable, told Boardroom Breakers.
The astronomical growth Dapper Labs has enjoyed since the launch of NBA Top Shot hasn’t been without challenges, of course. Some users have noted struggles withdrawing money from their accounts, likely due to such a blistering rate of transactions while the service is still in its beta version.
As Mintable’s Burks told Breakers, adoption and user experience are critical for any application of blockchain technology to succeed. This most recent round of funding promises to help Dapper scale up and iron out these issues with extensive backend enhancements.
Many collectors have used NBA Top Shot as an investment opportunity, as the NFT highlights — or “Moments” — it offers have rapidly appreciated along with the platform’s popularity. A LeBron James dunk highlight sold for $210,000 in February, setting an NBA Top Shot record.
As far as this record being broken, it’s almost certainly a matter of when rather than if.
With this most recent round of funding, Dapper Labs is preparing to capitalize on its current successes and expand further. The company plans to scale their sports and entertainment offerings, with partnerships already in place with Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, and UFC.
“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,” said company CEO Roham Gharegozlou.
$2.6 billion is a huge number. But given the bullishness of Dapper’s investors — and all the unclaimed NFT territory out there across the worlds of sports, gaming, and art — it might look small by comparison looking back a year from now.