OpenSea, the NFT marketplace start-up, has had a great start to 2022 after raising $300m in Series C funding valuing the company at a whopping $13.3bn.
To put this in context, OpenSea was valued at $1.5bn by Andreessen Horowitz in a funding round July 2021, a little more than 6 months ago.
Co-founder and CEO Devin Finzer also said the four year old firm saw its transaction volume increase 600 times in 2021, riding on an explosion in the NFT sector. And according to TechCrunch, $2.4bn was handled in the past 30 days alone.
“In 2021, we saw the world awaken to the idea that NFTs represent the basic building blocks for brand new peer-to-peer economies,” he said in a blog post announcing the latest funding round.
“OpenSea’s vision is to become the core destination for these new open digital economies to thrive, building the world’s friendliest and most trusted NFT marketplace with the best selection.,” Finzer added.
The Series C round was led by Web3 investment firm Paradigm and tech investment manager Coatue. Finzer said the funding will be used for product development, hiring more people, improve customer support (with the aim to double its customer support, trust and safety team by the end of this year) and invest in the wider NFT and Web3 community.
Finzer also welcomed former Meta VP of commerce, Shiva Rajaraman, as the new VP of product at OpenSea. Rajaraman has previously held executive positions at WeWork, Spotify and Google.
OpenSea is also home to the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), a collection of 10,000 NFTs that live on the Ethereum blockchain, launched in April 2021. According to The Block, the BAYC NFTs have crossed the billion dollar mark in total sales this year.
Since its launch, the BAYC has seen growing interest from celebrities ranging from basketball players to rap artists, including Stephen Curry, Martin Garrix, Post Malone and, most recently, Eminem. Companies such as Adidas have also ‘aped in’ to the Bored Ape NFT phenomenon.
And now, there are even talks of OpenSea’s intention to buy crypto digital wallet Dharma Labs, whose Ethereum wallet can transfer money between banks and exchanges. According to Axios, current talk of an all-stock deal is estimated to be valued between $110m and $130m.
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