Dapper Labs, the Vancouver B.C. startup behind NBA Top Shot NFT craze, raises $305M

(Dapper Labs Photo)

New funding: Dapper Labs raised $305 million at a reported $2.6 billion valuation. The Vancouver, B.C., startup powers NBA Top Shot, a popular NFT-based digital trading card game that has generated more than $467 million in sales over the past five months.

Top Shot: Dapper is partnering with the NBA to run the infrastructure for Top Shot via Flow, its blockchain product that also powers its CryptoKitties digital collectibles. Dapper gets a cut of each Top Shot transaction and the NBA earns royalty payments.

NFT craze: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are the talk of the tech world. NFTs let people own verified, limited edition digital assets and buy, sell, or trade them on marketplaces. NFTs tap into the same interests and habits of traditional collectors, but in a modern version. People are spending $69 million for a piece of digital art, or $2.9 million for a tweet.

Investors: NBA legend Michael Jordan and two-time champion Kevin Durant invested in the round, as well as a bevy of players from the NBA, NFL, and MLB, and several entertainment and music stars. Coatue Management — which led the round — a16z, The Chernin Group, USV, Version One, and Venrock also invested. Total funding to date is $357 million.

Dapper, which employs under 100 people, is led by Roham Gharegozlou, the former CEO at Axiom Zen.

Related: As worries spark over the carbon impacts of NFTs, some unexpected boosters come to their defense

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