Blockchain-based virtual game CryptoKitties has raised US$15M in financing led by Venrock, with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Samsung NEXT. Funds raised will be used to establish a U.S. subsidiary, hire leading executives in the U.S. and Canada, and develop its infrastructure.
High-Profile Investors Line Up to Back Consumer Blockchain Success CryptoKitties With $15m
The $15 million raised by Dapper Labs, the company behind CryptoKitties, included other high-profile investors, such as Endeavor; eSports leader aXiomatic, and the Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund CoinFund. Other investors include Animoca Brands, June Fund, HOF Capital, John Pfeffer, GBIC, and Matt Bellamy, the lead singer of Muse.
A previous funding round raised $12 million from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Union Square Ventures (USV), Fred Ehrsam (Coinbase co-founder), Naval Ravikant (AngelList founder), and Mark Pincus (Zynga founder). Dapper Labs disclosed other investors from its previous round: Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo; Steve Huffman, the founder and CEO of Reddit; and Green Bay Ventures.
Dapper Labs has announced the funding will be used to expand CryptoKitties globally, including a U.S. subsidiary led by former executives from Unity and Disney, and additional hires for the Canada office from Ubisoft, EA Sports, Amazon, ESPN, Hasbro, and Zynga. The newly added strength to Dapper Labs will work to develop and market the successful consumer blockchain product, according to the firm’s CEO Roham Gharegozlou.
“The evolution of true digital ownership and the interoperability of smart contracts creates new ways for consumers, creators, and platform providers to interact completely peer-to-peer, with no middlemen. Our mission at Dapper Labs is to use games and entertainment to bring the values of decentralization to billions of consumers worldwide. This round of financing was about getting the right partners around the table to bring compelling content to the blockchain – and make sure usability and infrastructure allow for adoption by mainstream consumers.”
The success of Cryptokitties has gained widespread attention and investment firms are lining up to back the disruption of the gaming industry with blockchain. David Pakman, a General Partner at Venrock, joined Dapper Labs’ Board of Directors.
“The team at Dapper Labs impressed us with their vision. More than any other company in this industry, they truly understand and aim to reach the mainstream consumer. The blockchain will usher in an industry of scarce digital assets and will enable new types of self-expression. Combined with the transition from centralized to peer-to-peer commerce, this will unlock trillions of dollars in value for consumers.”
CryptoKitties is responsible for 3.2-million transactions and tens of millions of dollars transacted on the platform, making it the world’s most used consumer blockchain application outside of exchanges. Launched in late 2017, the game showcases an application for blockchain beyond cryptocurrencies, bringing mainstream users completely new to blockchain into the industry. The fun and approachable experience appeals to a very broad audience and lowers the barrier to entry for blockchain.