Michael Jordan, Will Smith, other stars invest $305M in NBA Top Shot developer Dapper Labs Michael Jordan, Will Smith, other stars invest $305M in NBA Top Shot developer Dapper Labs
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Michael Jordan, Will Smith, other stars invest $305M in NBA Top Shot developer Dapper Labs

Dapper Labs' valuation surged to $2.6 billion following the explosive growth of its non-fungible token platforms.

Michael Jordan, Will Smith, other stars invest $305M in NBA Top Shot developer Dapper Labs

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate. Image includes combined content which may include AI-generated content.

Dapper Labs, the company behind highly successful non-fungible token (NFT) platforms CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, has raised $305 million in a funding round led by investment firm Coatue, USA Today reported today.

“NFTs are the first time anyone can create unique digital items that can be portable across different products anywhere the customer wants—simple but game-changing,” said Dieter Shirley, chief technology officer at Dapper Labs.

As a result, the influx of fresh capital has pushed the company’s total valuation to $2.6 billion, a knowledgeable source told the outlet.

NBA Top Shot is a blockchain platform where users can trade highlights from various NBA matches in the form of NFTs. These non-interchangeable tokens have become the latest “crypto craze” over the past few months, propelling platforms such as Top Shot into the very top of trading volume charts.

After its launch in open beta just six months ago, NBA Top Shot has already generated nearly $500 million in sales as users created over 800,000 accounts—roughly 338,000 of which own at least one NFT, the firm noted. Shirley added:

“NFTs let people have real ownership in games and digital worlds for the first time. Developers can also easily build products that let customers access their NFTs and identities from different products, meaning less lock-in on customers. On a blockchain like Flow, NFTs can rewire the Internet for the better.”

A stellar group of investors

Notably, the list of Dapper Labs’ latest investors is just as impressive as the raised sum itself. Apart from Coatue, the participants included NBA legend Michael Jordan, as well as basketball stars Kevin Durant Andre Iguodala, Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie, Andre Drummond, Alex Caruso, Michael Carter-Williams, Josh Hart, Udonis Haslem, JaVale McGee, Khris Middleton, Domantas Sabonis, Klay Thompson, and Nikola Vucevic.

“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. 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,” said Durant.

Guests from other sports took part as well. Among them, Nolan Arenado and Tim Beckham represented Major League Baseball. Meanwhile, investors from the National Football League included Thomas Davis, Stefon Diggs, Dee Ford, Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Jordan Matthew, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, DK Metcalf, Tyrod Taylor, and Trent Williams.

On the companies’ side, Dapper Labs received funding from Richard Seymour’s 93 Ventures, Sound Ventures (Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary), Dreamers VC (Will Smith and Keisuke Honda), and AG Ventures (Shawn Mendes and Andrew Gertler).

With the help of its new capital, Dapper Labs now reportedly plans to expand beyond basketball and bring more sports, video games, and other entertainment projects to its Flow blockchain.