- 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.
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