Sports | March 30, 2021 11:59 am

NBA Top Shot Creator Dapper Labs Scores $305 Million in Funding, $2.6 Billion Valuation

Investors in the company include Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Ashton Kutcher, Shawn Mendes and Will Smith

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets invested in NBA Top Shot.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty

Investors appear to think the Canadian blockchain technology company behind NBA NFTs is a slam dunk to keep making money.

Dapper Labs, the creator of NBA Top Shot, scored $305 million in private funding from backers including Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Ashton Kutcher, Shawn Mendes and Will Smith during its latest round of fundraising and is now valued at $2.6 billion.

“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,” Durant, who invested via his company Thirty Five Ventures, said in a release. “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.”

Offering limited-edition digital collectibles called “moments” that feature videos of NBA action showcasing specific players, NBA Top Shot has generated more than $500 million in primary and secondary sales since launching six months ago. One of the fastest-growing NFT (non-fungible token) marketplaces on the internet, NBA Top Shot has more than 800,000 registered users and is well on its way to a million.

“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,” Dieter Shirely, chief technology officer of Dapper Labs, said in a release. “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.” 

Top Shot has been so successful that Dapper has already inked deals with other clients like Warner Music Group, Ubisoft and UFC.

“We want to bring the same magic to other sports leagues as well as help other entertainment studios and independent creators find their own approaches in exploring open platforms,” said Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou.

According to the company, the new funds will be used to “scale the Dapper Labs team to continue building out the NBA Top Shot vision, expanding the platform to other sports, and helping a new generation of creators develop engaging experiences using blockchain technology including NFTs.”

Similar to bitcoin, NFTs are confusing as all hell — but that doesn’t appear to make them a bad investment.