Two years back, Warner Music Group joined an $11.2 million funding round for Flow blockchain developer Dapper Labs, which created CryptoKitties and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace NBA Top Shot. Now, Dapper has announced the completion of a $250 million raise.
Vancouver-based Dapper Labs detailed its quarter-billion-dollar funding round today, via a general release. New York City-headquartered investment manager Coatue led the round, which also drew support from existing backers such as Google (through GV, formerly Google Ventures) and Andreessen Horowitz as well as new investors like venture firm BOND.
The capital influx arrives on the heels of “a year of exponential growth for Dapper Labs,” the three-year-old company indicated, with its “flagship” NBA Top Shot having grown “30x in 2021” – including over $780 million in collectible sales and more than 1.1 million registered accounts.
While Warner Music Group didn’t participate in today’s $250 million raise, Dapper higher-ups acknowledged the development of “soon to hit experiences” involving the Flow blockchain and the Big Three record label – besides projects with Endeavor’s UFC and avatar-technology company Genies.
Building upon the point, WMG explained in late April that it had inked a deal with Genies to bring its “roster of artists to life as avatars.” The “innovative partnership” will specifically see Warner Music acts “produce and distribute virtual beings that facilitate fan reach across immersive platforms and metaverses.”
Additionally, WMG creators will have the chance to turn “their favorite cultural moments or latest artistic endeavors into exclusive ‘Digital Wearables Drops’ that their fans can own and use on their Genie avatar forever” as part of the Genies agreement, higher-ups said, with the corresponding marketplace running “on Dapper Labs’ Flow Blockchain.”
Though some data has suggested that the market for music NFTs is drying up following a strong start in 2021’s first half, capital – and much-publicized interest – is continuing to reach the space.
Prior to Dapper’s massive raise, for instance, Quincy Jones-backed NFT platform OneOf raised $63 million in seed funding, against a $23 million raise for OpenSea and a $19 million funding round for Bitski, with Jay-Z having led the latter.
More broadly, Warner Music Group – which earlier this week saw its shares touch an all-time-high price – has quietly made several other noteworthy investments through 2021’s first nine months, including leading game-mod marketplace Overwolf’s $52.5 million Series C and joining Roblox’s $520 million Series H. Earlier this month, Roblox hosted “a pioneering interactive virtual concert” from Twenty One Pilots.