NFT Funding: NFT Startups, Investment Funds, Metaverse REITs, Mar 23 – April 9

Dapper Labs Raises $305 Million

Dapper Labs Raises $305 Million!

An NFT Entrepreneur Newsletter by Clyde F. Smith

Prelude:

This is the third NFT Funding report from NFT Entrepreneur. The first focused on NFT Startup funding from January 1 to February 21. The second expanded the view to include Startups, Investment Funds and related news from February 18 to March 19.

This edition covers March 23 to April 19 and includes NFT Startups, NFT Investment Funds and Metaverse REITS. Though stocks and ICOs are funding methods, I am planning to combine those in a separate newsletter edition. As always, the focus is on NFTs as art/media formats.

NFT Stock coverage began with a report on March activity which got a bit wild and bubblicious. I am planning to continue periodic coverage of the stocks of companies doing significant work in NFT Land along with plans for IPOs. Initial Coin Offerings, Initial DEX Offerings and news about NFT-related cryptocurrencies will be included in those reports since they often seem to function like stocks.

On that note, do take a look at my recent quick take on such legal topics as the likelihood of NFT Fractions being labeled securities. And, if you’re unfamiliar with NFT Fractions and Index Funds, I recently wrote about them for The Defiant.

NFT Funding: NFT Startups, Investment Funds, Metaverse REITs

NFT Startup Funding

Kikitrade – $8M Pre-series A

Crypto Platform Kikitrade Completes US$8M Pre-series A Funding
Press Release (4/9/21)

“The Pre-A series funding was co-led by Dragonfly Capital, a blockchain venture fund affiliated with Sequoia Capital, Cherubic Ventures, a venture capital that has invested six unicorns globally, and Animoca Brands, a blockchain gaming giant founded by tech legend Yat Siu. Other investors include Ethereum Co-founder Joseph Lubin and his new fund in stealth, Singaporean venture capital Vulpes, Super Chain Capital, Australian venture capital Artesian, Head & Shoulders X in Hong Kong, Chinese blockchain fund SNZ and more.”

“The investment proceeds will accelerate the user acquisition in the fast growing APAC markets, including Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Australia. Kikitrade will also continue to optimize its existing trading system, enhance its educational content and create an easy-to-use Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) portal.”

Arkane Network – €1.55 Million Seed Round

Arkane Network raises €1.55M to continue its growth as a blockchain industry leader
Arkane Network Blog (4/8/21)

“Belgian blockchain technology provider, Arkane Network, closed a €1.55M seed round led by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF). DM-BB David Majert, Palentine Ventures (Blockrocket) and imec.istart Fund joined the round…Arkane will grow its team and set up an independent branch in Berlin.”

“Arkane was founded in 2018 by Tim Dierckxsens, Karel Striegel, Davy Van Roy and Gerbert Vandenberge to solve the complexity of blockchain technology and make it ready for mainstream adoption. With Arkanes solution every Rest-API Developer can develop blockchain based products. Arkane does this with its blockchain agnostic, digital wallet-, and NFT services for companies and popular blockchain games like CoinStats, NFTBank, Atari, Bondly Finance, The Sandbox and Aavegotchi.”

Mintable – Undisclosed Seed Round

Mark Cuban-backed Mintable bags funding from Sound Ventures
Tech In Asia (4/6/21)

“Non-fungible token (NFT) platform Mintable, backed by billionaire investor Mark Cuban, announced the close of its seed round from Sound Ventures, the venture fund founded by U2 manager Guy Oseary and American actor Ashton Kutcher.”

“The amount of the round was not disclosed.”

“Investors including Time Ventures and CRC Capital also participated in the financing round.”

SuperWorld – Undisclosed

Draper Goren Holm Backs SuperWorld
Press Release (4/6/21)

“Draper Goren Holm, in partnership with Tim Draper, Alon Goren, and Josef Holm, today announces its backing of Ethereum-based virtual real estate platform SuperWorld. ”

Refinable – $3 Million

Binance and Mr. Beast invest in Refinable — BSC’s first NFT marketplace
Cointelegraph (4/6/21)

“In total, Refinable raised $3 million to fund its growth and development…Binance has directly invested in Refinable…It has been confirmed that prominent content creator Mr. Beast has personally invested in Refinable.”

Efinity – $18.9 Million

Enjin Raises $18.9M to Launch the First Dedicated NFT Blockchain on Polkadot
Press Release (3/31/21)

“Enjin, the creators of the ERC-1155 non-fungible token (NFT) standard, have sold out their $18.9 million private sale for Efinity, a next-generation NFT blockchain made for games, apps, enterprises, and creators, built on Polkadot.”

“The funding round was led by Crypto.com Capital, DFG Group, and Hashed, with support from Hypersphere, BlockTower, Blockchain.com Ventures, Fenbushi, Iconium, HashKey, Arrington XRP Capital, DeFi Alliance, and an extensive list of other leading firms, celebrities, and individuals.”

Zora – $8 Million

Zora Gets In on NFT Funding Craze With $8M Raise, SEC Documents Show
Nasdaq (3/31/21)

“Zora, a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has raised nearly $8 million in equity sales, according to regulatory documents seen by CoinDesk.”

“The documents show Zora Labs recently completed the funding round with five investors participating. Their identities were not immediately known and it was unclear at press time whether the raise includes October’s $2 million seed round.”

Dapper Labs – $305 Million

CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs raises $305 million
Venture Beat (3/30/21)

“Dapper Labs, the maker of blockchain-based digital collectibles CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, has raised $305 million in a new round of funding. Dapper Labs is also the creator of the Flow blockchain network.”

“The round, led by Coatue, brings in more than 30 NBA, NFL, and MLB athletes, entertainment leaders, and cultural influencers — and includes participation from The Chernin Group, Andreessen Horowitz, Venrock, USV, and Version One.”

“The Vancouver-based Dapper Labs said the investors include NBA legend Michael Jordan, current players and funds including 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, Nikola Vucevic, Thad Young, and Richard Seymour’s 93 Ventures. It also includes investors from entertainment and music such as Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, Will Smith and Keisuke Honda’s Dreamers VC, Shawn Mendes and Andrew Gertler’s AG Ventures, Shay Mitchell, and 2 Chainz.”

“Additional investors in the round include: MLB players like Tim Beckham and Nolan Arenado; NFL players Ken Crawley, Thomas Davis, Stefon Diggs, Dee Ford, Malcom Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Jordan Matthew, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, DK Metcalf, Tyrod Taylor, and Trent Williams; team ownership including Vivek Ranadive (Kings), and notable sports investors Bolt Ventures. This round of financing brings the total capital raised by the company to $357 million.”

Dapper Labs, company behind NBA Top Shot, raises $305 million while being valued at $2.6 billion
USA Today (3/30/21)

“The latest funding round upped Dapper Labs’ valuation to $2.6 billion, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because the financial details are not public. ”

SuperRare – $9 Million Series A

SuperRare Raises $9M to Build the Future of Art Collecting
SuperRare on Medium (3/30/21)

“After three years of building and proving this new market, we are thrilled to announce our $9 million Series A financing round from top-tier investors. The round was led by Velvet Sea Ventures and 1confirmation with participation from Version1, Collaborative Fund, Shrug Capital, Third Kind, The LAO, SamsungNext, BlockTower, AndArt Agency, Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, Qinwen Wang, Andrew Stienwold, Scott Belsky, Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff, Naval Ravikant, and Chamath Palihapitiya.”

“The growth in the digital art market in the past three years has been electrifying. In the first year, artists on SuperRare averaged about $8,000 of sales per month. Fast forward to 2021, this figure has exploded by over 31,000% to $25M per month. To date, artists have earned over $30M on SuperRare from primary sales and from secondary market royalties–as artists earn a 10% cut of each subsequent sale of their artwork in the market, for perpetuity.”

Moonbeam – $6 Million

PureStake Closes $6M Strategic Round of Funding for the Moonbeam Network
PureStake News (3/30/21)

“PureStake, the company developing the Moonbeam smart contract platform, announced the completion of a $6 million strategic round led by CoinFund, a leading blockchain-focused investment firm. The round included participation from Binance Labs, ParaFi, Coinbase Ventures, Fenbushi Capital, IOSG Ventures, as well as previous seed investors. This round of funding will be used to hire development resources, build additional integrations and developer tools, perform third-party security audits, and establish a market presence in Asia. These activities will position the team for a successful launch of the Moonbeam network in 2021.”

“‘From the beginning, we have prioritized broad and strategic distribution when fundraising. The partnerships forged in this round…will provide us with the capital, guidance, and global traction we need to launch the Moonbeam network and establish it as a center of DeFi, NFT, and other activity on Polkadot,’ says Derek Yoo, CEO of PureStake and Founder of the Moonbeam project. ”

Recur – $5 Million Seed Round

RECUR Announces $5M Seed Raise From Industry Innovators, The Largest In NFT History, To Build Branded NFT Fan Experiences
Press Release (3/25/21)

“RECUR…company that designs and develops on-chain branded experiences allowing fans to buy, collect, and re-sell digital products and collectibles (NFTs), announces its raise of $5M…It will build branded NFT Fan Experiences for global brands and the first is set to launch in Summer 2021.”

“The raise was led by the Defi Alliance and included investors and funds such as: Gary Vaynerchuk, Courtside VC, Founder of Ethereum, Joseph Lubin (Fund in stealth), Gemini (Tyler & Cameron Winklevoss), Scott Belsky (Founder of Behance), JST Capital, Delphi Digital, Volt Capital, Nascent, CMT Digital, Hashed and more.”

Recur raises $5 million for perpetual cross-platform NFT royalties
Cointelegraph, (3/27/21)

“Recur’s key innovation will be a ERC token standard that will allow royalties to function regardless of platform.”

“‘RECUR’s technical team is involved in the official process for Ethereum improvements (EIP), and our technology will be implemented at the blockchain layer,’ said Recur co-CEO Zach Bruch. ‘By doing this it will allow the NFTs minted on our platform to move freely around the ecosystem while still generating recurring royalties for the owners and IP holders. Ultimately, our goal is to make NFTs chain-agnostic and keep NFTs and royalties decentralized.'”

“Bruch did not reference a specific EIP his team is working on. Similar proposals, such as EIP-2981, which adds standard royalty functionality to the ERC-721 NFT standard, are also in the works.”

Esprezzo – $2 Million

Esprezzo Raises $2M to Bring No-Code Automation to Crypto Investors, NFT Creators, Collectors and DeFi Users
Esprezzo Blog (3/24/21)

“Esprezzo, a no-code blockchain automation and data platform, has announced an oversubscribed $2 million investment round with participation from Mark Cuban, Arrington Capital, Longley Capital, Rarestone Capital, CMS Holdings, LongHash, Youbi, TBD Angels, Zag Capital and other leading investors.”

“Esprezzo’s mission is to empower everyone to access and use blockchain data, whether to facilitate crypto trading, track NFTs, get DeFi intel or build next gen applications. Esprezzo’s no-code blockchain automation platform and data tools help crypto traders, NFT creators and collectors, DeFi enthusiasts and developers realize the benefits of blockchain technology without needing to know protocol-specific programming languages.”

Covalent – $2 Million

Covalent Closes $2 Million Strategic Funding Round to Launch its Decentralized Data Query Network
Covalent Blog (3/24/21)

“Covalent, a unified API for blockchain data, has closed a $2 million strategic funding round led by Hashed with participation from Binance Labs, Coinbase Ventures, Delphi Ventures, Hypersphere Ventures, and other ecosystem partners. The new funding will accelerate product timelines to launch a decentralized version of the market leading Covalent API.”

“In addition to the aforementioned investors, this round also saw participation from leading base layer chains, including Moonbeam, Avalanche, Near, and Elrond. The support from these projects signals their belief in the importance of the third breakout category in crypto: accessibility of rich, on-chain data.”

Decentralized Data Project Covalent Raises Another $2M
Nasdaq (3/24/21)

“The funds will also assist in the development of ‘new product offerings such as multi-chain capabilities and support for granular NFT data.'”

Nifty’s – Undisclosed Seed Round

Nifty’s Announces 1st NFT-Focused Social Media Platform For Creators, Collectors And Curators With Backing Of Major Investors
Press Release (3/23/21)

“Nifty’s, Inc. today announced the close of a pre-seed round supporting the rapid development of the first NFT-focused social media platform that brings together premium publishers, brands and creators with collectors, curators and fans.”

“Nifty’s has secured financial backing in a pre-seed round from high-profile technology and blockchain investors including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Joseph Lubin, founder and CEO of ConsenSys and co-founder of Ethereum, and the secretive DeFi investor and NFT ‘whale’ known solely as 0xb1. Institutional investors participating in the round are Draper Dragon, Polychain, Tally Capital, Liberty City Ventures, and Future Positive which is led by Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and Medium, and Fred Blackford, co-founder of Swing Technologies.”

“The capital infusion has permitted the company to acquire the technology stack of DeFi and NFT viral hit MEME Protocol. MEME co-founders Jordan Lyall, Chris Your, and Eric Tesenair will join Nifty’s as co-founders.”

Palm, A New NFT Ecosystem and Studio for Creators, Announces Launch of First Project with Damien Hirst
Press Release (3/30/21)

“As well as the first project from Damien Hirst, today Palm is also announcing several launch partners from the crypto space who will be supporting The Currency Project and other future drops on Palm…$MEME, the popular experimental NFT project; Nifty’s, a new NFT-focused social media platform.”

Polkamon – $740,000

Announcing Polkamon’s Strategic Investors
Polkamon on Medium (3/23/21)

“Moonrock Capital and Morningstar Ventures have come together to assist in incubating and bringing the Polkamon project together…Other key strategic investors were Ascensive Assets, Divergence Ventures, Carnival Ventures, DFG.”

“Combined, these six strategic investors led by Moonrock Capital and Morningstar Ventures saw us close out a total raise of $740,000.”

NFT Investment Funds

aNFT.Fund – $10 Million

Borderless Capital Launches $10 Million aNFT.Fund
Press Release (3/30/21)

“The $10 million Fund is focused on the booming creator economy, which has been enabled by non-fungible tokens…Algorand is uniquely positioned as the foundation for an NFT ecosystem that is connected to DeFi and traditional models.”

“The aNFT.Fund will invest in businesses across the emerging Algorand NFT ecosystem, including marketplaces, tooling, NFTs finance applications, and community projects, among others.”

Strategy Session: Borderless Capital Targets Algorand, NFTs With New Fund
Crunchbase News (3/2/21)

“Our focus is to kick off the cycle and invest in infrastructure products to make it easier for artists to use Algorand. We can make existing NFTs, create value for them and make them compatible with Algorand. We are going to invest in the NFT itself, and we even have our own art collection and invest in business use cases that will leverage infrastructure, especially on the secondary market transactions, that are using assets to create tools like lending and borrowing.”

JUST NFT Fund (TRON)

Open Letter from Justin Sun to the Community on Establishment of JUST NFT Fund
TRON Foundation on Medium (3/29/21)

“The highly sought-after NFT market calls for the birth of JUST NFT fund, which aims to be the ARK Funds in the NFT space to register world-class artworks as NFTs on blockchain. JUST NFT fund was born to build a bridge between top-notch artists and blockchain, and to support the growth of native crypto NFT artists.”

“JUST NFT only focuses on top-notch artists and artworks. In principle, the fund only accepts art pieces with a price tag of no less than $1 million and a median value of $10 million.”

Justin Sun Announces Establishment of the JUST NFT Fund – Building a Bridge Between Blockchain and the World’s Top Artists
Press Release (3/29/21)

“The main supporter of the JUST NFT fund is Justin Sun, with the fund’s principle team made up of art market experts from traditional institutions including Christie’s and Sotheby’s who are active in the world of NFT crypto art.”

“Even more indicative of Sun’s determination to enter the industry are his plans to NFTize a series of artworks recently auctioned, and map their ownership on the Tron public chain according to the TRC-721 standard. The works will be permanently preserved on the Tron blockchain and BTFS decentralized storage system.”

Dragonfly Fund II – $225 Million
(Dragonfly Capital)

Announcing Dragonfly Fund II
Dragonfly Research on Medium (3/26/21)

“We’re excited to announce the launch of Dragonfly Fund II, a $225M venture fund, to back the next generation of crypto entrepreneurs and projects.”

“In our Fund II, we are excited to have Sequoia China joining us as a strategic LP. We have also partnered with some of the premiere Asian platforms, including OKEx, Huobi, Bitmain, and Bybit. Together with many of the technology and cultural leaders from US technology firms and VCs, we’re in an incredible position to help unite and push the crypto movement forward.”

“Here’s a preview of some of the directions we’re excited about exploring in our Fund II: Decentralized Finance…NFTs and Monetization for Creators…Layer 2…Centralized Financial Infrastructure”

Metaverse Real Estate Fund News

Metaverse REIT

Metaverse Group Announces Plans for First Metaverse Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
Press Release (3/31/21)

“Metaverse REIT plans to own and operate a portfolio of high-quality development properties in Decentraland, Somnium Space, Crypto Voxels, Sandbox, Upland and other commercially viable Metaverses.”

“The REIT will receive further support as a part of the portfolio of DLT ASA, the publicly-listed digital asset and blockchain network, and its founders, David Johnston and James Haft.”

“We launch in Q3 2021 so stay tuned for updates!”
Metaverse Property on Twitter (4/2/21)

Republic Realm

Republic is Launching a Fund for Virtual Real Estate
Motley Fool (3/26/21)

“The fund is invite-only, open to only 99 investors, has a minimum investment of $25,000, and is limited to accredited investors.”

Plus News We Missed!

Sora Ventures and BitForex NFT Fund

Sora Ventures and BitForex launch a NFT fund
ChainNews (3/12/21)

“According to news from the chain, Sora Ventures and BitForex launched a new NFT fund to raise more resources to provide a bridge for these projects and enhance their legitimacy. Sora Ventures is currently looking for long-term partners to establish this fund. The main goal of this cooperation is to provide funding and community support for NFT projects and accelerate the growth and adoption of NFT in various ecosystems (such as Binance Smart Chain, Polkadot, Solana, Cosmos and Ethereum).”

NFTfi – $890,000

We are funded!
NFTfi on Medium (2/25/21)

“The $890k round includes investment from top VC firms with deep experience in the NFT and DeFI space, including; Coinfund, 1KX, Collab+Currency, Maven 11 and The LAO. Animoca Brands also participated in the round as a strategic investor.”

“The rest of the round includes a number of the leading builders and collectors in the NFT and DeFi space including Roham Gharegozlou (CEO of Dapper Labs, the creators of NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties), Sebastien Borget (COO of The Sandbox game), Johnathan Gabler (cadCad Edu, Blockscience), Andrew Steinwald (Zima Red, Sfermion), Snowfro (Artbocks) and Roberto Ceresia (ark.gallery, Wrapped Punks) among others.”

“NFTfi will use the funding to expand the capabilities of the platform, add support for additional blockchains like Flow and to fund the development of a governance token to enable community ownership in the platform.”

“NFTfi.com – A simple marketplace for NFT collaterized loans. Put your own NFTs up as collateral for a loan, or offer loans to other users on their non-fungible tokens.”

Previous NFT Entrepreneur Funding Reports:

OpenSea’s $23 Milli Leads NFT Funding News: February 18 to March 19

NFT Startup Funding News: January 1 to February 21, 2021

 

NFT Entrepreneur