Michael Jordan, Will Smith join $305M funding round for NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs

NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs has secured about $305 million in new funding round from investors.

According to a report by Business Insider on Tuesday, past and present NBA stars like Michael Jordan, Alex Caruso, and Kevin Durant participated in the funding round. Other investors included The Chernin Group and Will Smith’s venture capital outfit Dreamers VC.

With this latest funding round, Dapper Labs now reportedly holds a $2.6 billion valuation. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, NBA Top Shot had grossed $230 million in sales as of the end of February.

According to a Dapper Labs spokesperson quoted by Business Insider, March trading figures have seen NBA Top Shot’s total gross reach $483 million with more than 802,000 users on the platform.

Indeed, the NBA Top Shot boom is part of the current interest surrounding non fungible tokens, or NFTs. Earlier in March, an NFT collector reportedly refused a $1 million offer for an NBA Top Shot NFT originally acquired for $100,000 back in January.

Commenting on the platform’s success, Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou remarked:

“NBA Top Shot is successful because it taps into basketball fandom — it’s a new and more exciting way for people to connect with their favorite teams and players.”

Following the success of NBA Top Shot, Gharegozlou says Dapper Labs is looking to extend the “same magic” to other sports franchises. Back in February 2020, Dapper Labs inked a deal with mixed martial arts promoter Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Dapper Labs also created CryptoKitties, one of the first NFT projects to gain mass appeal in the crypto space. During the height of the CryptoKitties craze, the digital cats breeding game became the largest Ethereum-based decentralized application.

Meanwhile, NFTs are seemingly becoming more mainstream with Saturday Night Live recently presenting a rap sketch to explain the new digital collectible phenomena in their usual satirical tone.

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