Dapper Labs raises $320M led by Coatue, seals La Liga NFT deal

The company's new partnership with Spanish football league La Liga will bring digital collectibles to fans of teams like Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid.

Dapper Labs, Inc. announced that it raised CAD$320 million (US$250M) in new funding led by Coatue, with participation from existing investors a16z, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Version One Ventures with new investors including BOND and Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.

Why it matters: The company is now privately worth USD $7.6 billion (~CAD$9.6B or 1/4 of Telus), according to reports in TechCrunch and the Boardroom), potentially three times more than its March valuation when it raised nearly CAD$400 million from traditional investors and celebrities like Michael Jordan, Will Smith and Ashton Kutcher. The company has now raised nearly CAD$800 million in total.

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Refresher: Dapper Labs is the Vancouver-based company behind the wildly popular NBA Top Shot NFT marketplace—which Vancouver Tech Journal first covered in February—and the Flow blockchain. This latest round follows a year of massive growth for Dapper Labs. While still in open Beta, its flagship NBA Top Shot grew by 30x in 2021, with more than US$780M in collectibles bought and sold, more than 1.1M registered accounts of which over 48% own at least one moment, and over 13 million transactions.

Details: Dapper Labs will use the new capital to continue to scale and support major additional brand-driven sports, entertainment and music-based products coming online and being developed on the Flow blockchain.

"Dapper Labs is growing quickly but we're just scratching the surface of what this new technology can do for people," explains Roham Gharegozlou, CEO, Dapper Labs. "We're excited to partner with our incredible investors to scale NBA Top Shot and launch our upcoming titles as well as unlock the potential of the open ecosystem building on Flow.”

Zoom out: Dapper’s Flow blockchain has emerged as a go-to destination for over 3,000 developers, artists, creators and brands that want to build out their own blockchain-based experiences and communities. Most recently, Google Cloud was unveiled as Flow's cloud provider and came on board to drive the next wave of mainstream NFT adoption on Flow. In addition to supporting upcoming experiences from UFC, Genies, Warner Music Group and more, Flow will be the home of fan and league-driven experiences from Dapper Labs later this year and early next, including La Liga announced today.

New frontiers: La Liga is the top football league in Spain. In the same way that NBA Top Shot connected fans to digital highlights from the NBA and WNBA, Dapper plans on doing the same for football teams and institutions like Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla and Real Madrid, starting in 2022.

The money talks:  "Coatue has been investing in technology trends for over 20 years and web 3.0 is one of the most exciting trends we've seen," said Dan Rose, Chairman, Coatue Ventures. "We think Dapper Labs is a leader in the space at the infrastructure level with Flow blockchain and in the application layer with NBA TopShot. We continue to be impressed by Roham's strong leadership and vision and we could not be more proud to partner with him and the entire team at Dapper."

"Blockchain and crypto are foundational underpinnings for the next wave of technology evolution," said Mary Meeker, General Partner of BOND. "With NBA Top Shot and a compelling pipeline of products to come, Dapper Labs is leading the way with the innovative Flow platform. We are excited to be a part of this journey – and its next iterations – with Roham and team."

The bigger picture: Dapper CEO Gharegozlou tweeted a detailed outline of his company’s mission, which is to drive mainstream adoption of decentralized technologies.

Similar to how Bill Gates pushed for “a PC on every desk,” Gharegozlou believes “NFTs are the catalyst to putting ‘a blockchain wallet in every pocket.’”

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