Dapper Labs, the company behind CryptoKitties and upcoming projects such as NBA Top Shot, has raised $11 million in funding. It also unveiled the development of Flow, a new blockchain built to enable decentralized applications at scale.
The largest investor in the round was Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund, with participation from new investors Accomplice, AppWorks, Autonomous Partners, Fenbushi Digital, and Warner Music Group.
Existing investors that also participated in the funding included Union Square Ventures, Venrock, Digital Currency Group, Animoca Brands, SV Angel, Version One, and CoinFund, among others. Angel investors who participated in this round included William Mougayar, James and Glenn Hutchins, Don Mattrick, and Nanon de Gaspe Beaubien-Mattrick.
“After almost two years of research, we’re excited to share Flow with the world,” said Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, in a statement. “Flow is a blockchain built from the ground up to support high-performance ecosystems of apps and games without compromising decentralization. Bitcoin and Ethereum show how crypto can make the world of finance more open and transparent; Flow will do the same for consumers of entertainment and culture.”
Some of the types of experiences Flow will support include: artists or bands using crypto tokens to give music lovers new ways to show their fandom; games that reward players for adding value and enable interoperability with assets and identities that users can take across environments; or platforms for sports fans around the world to trade verified, authentic, limited-edition digital memorabilia in real-time.
“Warner Music is always searching for new opportunities for our artists and has dedicated itself to exploring emerging technologies to enable these,” said Jeff Bronikowski, senior vice president at Warner Music Group, in a statement. “When we met with Dapper Labs, they immediately understood our vision so we sought to solidify the partnership through this strategic investment.”
In addition to the new investment, Dapper Labs is announcing partnerships with leading entertainment publishers to ensure Flow is ready for enterprise-scale use-cases. Ubisoft, well known for developing games like Far Cry, Just Dance, and Assassin’s Creed, is advising on Flow, providing valuable industry feedback.
“When it comes to new technologies and innovation, Ubisoft has always favored a collaborative approach,” said Nicolas Pouard, blockchain initiative director at Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab, in a statement. “We are eager to learn more from Dapper Labs, some of the most talented pioneers in the field of blockchain-gaming while bringing our own experience of the gaming industry and triple-A development. As a player-centric technology, we believe blockchain can help make players true stakeholders and we can’t wait to see what we will achieve with this partnership.”
Animoca Brands, a renowned game developer and publisher that is currently developing a number of crypto games including F1 Delta Time and The Sandbox, will be one of the first game companies to build on Flow. These companies will contribute to making Flow a strong platform for consumer entertainment.
“We believe that crypto is the future of the gaming industry,” said Yat Siu, chairman of Animoca Brands, in a statement. “In order to support the scale expected from games that reach and are adopted by mainstream consumers, we need a strong platform that takes into account the needs of developers and the superpowers of decentralized entertainment, which is why we will work with Dapper Labs to build fun, accessible experiences on Flow.”
Flow will launch in 2020, in time to support many of the company’s large-scale, consumer-facing entertainment, music, and gaming projects in the works. Dapper Labs has raised $40 million to date.