Tom Brady is launching a new company called ‘Autograph’ that will sell unique digital memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities

tom brady 2020
  • Tom Brady is launching a company called “Autograph.”
  • The site will sell digital memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities like Brady.
  • The NFT market has been highly profitable for sports through platforms like NBA Top Shot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

NFL star Tom Brady is launching a company for digital collectibles called “Autograph.”

The platform will sell crypto memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities like Brady, according to the company’s site.

“Autograph will bring together some of the world’s most iconic names and brands with best in class digital artists to ideate, create and launch NFTs and ground-breaking experiences to a community of fans and collectors,” co-founder and CEO of Autograph Dillon Rosenblatt told CNN.

Brady and millionaire entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt will act as co-chairs of the company. Autograph boasts a team with several big business names, including Lionsgate CEO Jon Filthier and Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino, as well as three of the founders of DraftKings.

There has been a boom in interest in digital collectible in recent months. Items that function as non-fungible tokens or NFTs have generated millions of dollars in sales. In March, a $70 million digital art sale made history.

Since then, artists and celebrities from rapper Snoop Dogg to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have gotten in on the action.

Read more: What you need to know about NFTs, the collectible digital tokens that are selling for millions online

The items operate as unique digital assets. When someone buys an NFT they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain that acts as a digital certificate of authenticity. The token can gain value due to its relation to its creator or content. For example, tokens that represent memes like the Nyan Cat can gain in value as they increase in popularity online, though the NFT buyer is not be able to control the image’s distribution.

The NFT market has been especially profitable for sports. The site NBA Top Shot, which allows people to buy NBA sports clips, recently received a $2 billion valuation from NFT tracking site DappRadar. Top NBA clips, including a LeBron James dunk moment, have sold for over $200,000 on the platform.

As an NFL legend, Brady NFTs would likely see similar high sales. Yesterday a Brady rookie card sold for about $2.3 million – smashing the record for the most expensive football trading card sale, according to Bleacher Report.

Brady himself is no stranger to selling his personal brand. In February, Brady merchandise sales set records as he became the best-selling NFL player ever, according to Reuters.

Autograph isn’t Brady’s first company. In 2013, the football star launched TB12, a sports performance and nutrition company.

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NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs just nabbed another $305 million investment from the likes of Michael Jordan and Will Smith

NBA Top Shot Press Logo_Collectibles_
Dapper Labs has a $2.6 billion valuation after the round, a source close to the company said.

  • Dapper Labs, the startup behind NBA Top Shot, announced $305 million in new funding Tuesday.
  • The round comes from more than 30 pro athletes and venture capitalists, including Michael Jordan.
  • With the investment, Dapper Labs plans to expand its platform to other sports leagues.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dapper Labs, the startup behind virtual trading-card platform NBA Top Shot, has closed a $305 million funding round as the market for digital collectibles continues to boom, the company announced Tuesday.

Led by the investment firm Coatue, the round includes Michael Jordan, current NBA players like Kevin Durant, Alex Caruso, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala, and several other professional MLB and NFL athletes. Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, 2 Chainz, Venrock, The Chernin Group, and USV are also involved in the round.

This batch of funding brings Dapper Labs’ valuation to $2.6 billion, a source close to the company told Insider, and comes as the firm’s Top Shot platform explodes in popularity.

Developed in collaboration with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, the Top Shot marketplace enables fans to collect and trade officially licensed basketball highlight clips called “moments.”

Since launching in October, the platform has attracted 802,000 users and logged $483 million in sales, a spokesperson told Insider. The platform sees millions of dollars worth of moments change hands each day, with some exceptionally rare ones selling for $100,000 or more.

Read more: NFTs like NBA Top Shot are fueling a trading boom in million-dollar sports cards. The CEO of a fractional sports investing platform breaks down why digital collectibles are the ‘perfect intersection of passion and profits.’

The new financing brings the total capital raised by Dapper Labs to $357 million and will enable the firm to expand Top Shot to other sports leagues. In early 2020 it announced plans to develop digital collectibles for UFC.

“NBA Top Shot is successful because it taps into basketball fandom – it’s a new and more exciting way for people to connect with their favorite teams and players,” Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, said in a news release. “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.”

Founded in 2018, Dapper Labs is also behind another collecting game called CryptoKitties and has its own blockchain system called Flow.

Top Shot moments are a form of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, essentially digital deeds that grant someone ownership to a particular piece of media on the web. Although NFTs have existed for years, the market surrounding them has hit a fever pitch in 2021, with numerous digital art pieces selling for millions.

Do you have a story to share about your experience with NBA Top Shot? Email this reporter at tlevin@insider.com.

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Why every major entertainment company will get into NFTs, according to the VC behind NBA Top Shot

David Pakman VC
David Pakman.

  • NFTs are digital assets exploding in popularity and value right now.
  • David Pakman is a VC backing NBA Top Shot, one of the most successful mainstream NFTs.
  • Pakman says fans of IP like Star Wars are built-in NFT customers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have jumped into the mainstream recently.

NFTs are digital assets that have been around since 2017, and in 2020 they became a $250 million market. Creators are already realizing the potential to make millions in the relatively new space. Grimes sold her digital collection for $5.8 million in a 20-minute auction. A Miami art collector sold a 10-second video for $6.6 million.

The NBA Top Shot online marketplace has done over $65 million in sales in just the last week.

Venture capitalist David Pakman is a partner at Venrock, an investor in the company behind NBA Top Shot. Pakman told Insider that consumers should expect to see other brands selling crypto-collectibles too.

Read more: Here are 4 NFT startups transforming the way we buy art and sports memorabilia

“I’m sure you’ll see Star Wars, Harry Potter, all super popular global IP,” will eventually get into digital collectibles. “Those brands have touched hundreds of millions of people” he notes, and as long as they have internet access they’re all potential customers.

So far this is already starting to come true. Taco Bell just became the first fast-food restaurant with NFTs, and several athletes including Patrick Mahomes and Rob Gronkowski have jumped in too, and Lil Pump and Kings of Leon are bringing NFTs into the music world.

For fans, digital collectibles can have more staying power than physical objects like a plush toy or trading cards. Because NFTs are software, they can change and improve, Pakman says. Pieces can evolve and change based on factors like who the owner is and where they’re located.

Right now, NFT owners are limited to buying, selling, and displaying their collectibles, but as more companies enter the space and build new technology, their utility will increase, Pakman says.

“You could have hundreds or thousands of other companies creating experiences around a collectible,” for example, he says there are up to 50 games in development right now that would use NBA Top Shots moments.

Creating digital collectibles is a smart money decision, too. Digital collectibles, compared to analog items, are software, so the creator can continue to make money as it is resold.

“In the physical world, you get a percent of revenue when the plush is sold the first time, but if it goes up in value and people sell it at a flea market, you don’t get anything on downstream sales,” Pakman said as an example.

Creating digital scarcity like NFTs then becomes a compelling business model to giant companies like Disney, so more of them will create in the space. Creating an ongoing economic relationship, rather than a one-time sale, is very interesting to companies with popular brands.

“You’ll get paid forever,” as Pakman puts it.

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