Dapper Labs, the creator of the CryptoKitties game, has raised $15 million in a financing round for a slightly more serious project – to help beef up consumer interest in blockchain technologies.
The capital was led by Venrock, alongside GV – formerly Google Ventures – and Samsung NEXT. The funds will be used to help Dapper Labs to expand locally and globally, which will include establishing a US subsidiary to be led by former executives from Unity and Disney, with additional hires for the Canada office from Ubisoft, EA Sports, Amazon, ESPN, Hasbro, and Zynga. This investment will, the company hopes, boost the build-out of the infrastructure that is necessary to attract mainstream consumers to the blockchain.
To bring compelling brands, communities, and intellectual property to the blockchain, Dapper Labs is working with the world’s top entertainment brands. Financing includes participation from entertainment bigwigs Endeavor; eSports leader aXiomatic, and also the Andreessen Horowitz Cultural Leadership Fund. Additional investors in the financing round included Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo, Steve Huffman, the founder and CEO of Reddit, and Green Bay Ventures.
CryptoKitties, launched in late 2017, is the world’s most used consumer blockchain application outside of exchanges, with 3.2-million transactions and tens of millions of dollars transacted on the platform. It differentiated itself by not using the ICO-model for funding that most blockchain projects pursued, but instead opting to launch a product that showcased an application for blockchain beyond cryptocurrencies. CryptoKitties brought mainstream users completely new to blockchain industry by focusing on games and entertainment.
In other funding news, cryptography startup StarkWare, which developed the zk-STARKS privacy feature, has closed a $30 million equity funding round led by Paradigm and featuring a number of other major investors. The company is now working to commercialise the technology. It wants to allow public blockchain networks to add similar privacy to their own protocols.
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