Dapper Labs, startup behind NFT platform NBA Top Shot, nabs $305 million in funding

The maker of the popular NFT platform NBA Top Shot has raised $305 million in a new funding round.

Reports emerged Tuesday morning of the round, led by Coatue Management. The Block reported last month that Dapper Labs was raising a significant funding round led by Coatue, a billion-dollar investment firm with stakes in companies like Airtable and Instacart, among others.

Per the Associated Press, Dapper Labs has once again attracted investment interest from current and former NBA players, including Michael Jordan. A group of NBA stars joined Dapper Labs' $12 million round in August 2020.

According to Business Insider, other participants included Ashton Kutcher, Will Smith, USV and The Chernin Group, among others. To date, the startup has raised $357 million from investors. 

NBA Top Shot's success has come via its "pack drops" during which the site sells collections of basketball plays or "moments" that are officially licensed by the professional basketball league. In a sense, they're the digital equivalent of a playing card, with each Top Shot tied to a unique piece of blockchain-based data. Top Shots can be held, viewed and resold on the startup's platform.

As data collected by The Block Research shows, NBA Top Shot has emerged as the most-used platform for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The graph below shows the site drawing the most activity in terms of weekly transactions.

Indeed, the round is perhaps a reflection of the growing interest in the NFT ecosystem, particularly from investors who are placing bets on platforms and marketplace through which users can actually purchase NFTs.

Earlier this month, VC firm Andreessen Horowitz led a $23 million funding round in NFT marketplace OpenSea. In February, Rarible raised $1.75 million in seed funding.

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