With OpenSea’s recent press release announcing a $100M raise at a valuation of $1.5 billion, it’s safe to say that the NFT space is here to stay. We could continue to see the space grow exponentially in the coming months.
You can read the press release here: Announcing our $100M raise, led by a16z.
Notable in this raise are some of the participants outside of just a16z, who is a behemoth in the tech and crypto space. Here are the others mentioned in this funding round:
- Coatue Management; ~$48B in assets under management
- Kevin Durant; who also has a stake in NBA TopShot
- Ashton Kutcher; far from just a celebrity actor, he has his hands all over the crypto and NFT space
- Kevin Hartz; investor, co-founder of Eventbrite
- Michael Ovitz; investor, philanthropist and former president of Walt Disney
- Dylan Field; investor and co-founder of multibillion dollar tech company, Figma
- Tobi Lutke, billionaire investor, founder and CEO of Shopify
So, what does all this additional funding bring to OpenSea and the NFT space? Why is it relevant and what will it mean for the future?
Prior to this funding round, OpenSea had only raised $27.2M, $23M of which also came from Andreesen Horowitz (a16z) this past March (2021). That seed round has obviously provided a springboard for the NFT space to thrive and grow these past few months. The additional funding round brings some serious backing and expertise to the table that should provide additional levels of innovation and collaboration with other portfolio companies.
From OpenSea’s press release: “…our broader mission is to help create the systems and standards that enable the conversion of all types of digital wealth into forms that are truly ownable and freely exchangeable. In other words, OpenSea’s broader mission is to turn the internet from an information transfer machine into a value transfer machine.”
The inroads this round brings are impressive. Everything from potential connections within the crypto landscape with a16z’s vast portfolio of companies, to a potential Shopify connection with the investment from Tobi Lutke, who is a brilliant resource to have on board by the way. The Eventbrite connection with Kevin Hartz, who was part of one of the initial seed rounds for OpenSea, will continue to play a big role in the growth of NFT’s into the mainstream as well.
Venture Capital is a vital resource to the tech industry and has been the money machine behind some of the biggest companies in the world. These individuals and firms are also some of the most well-connected sources in the world, which is why you see so many of them have repeat success with companies that otherwise would not turn into “unicorn” type wins, and they are turning out herds of unicorns!
Surely some of these investors will have larger roles in the continual building of OpenSea than others. But the framework is already there, it just needs a few tweaks and some additional functionality and leadership to really take this to another level. A level the founders of OpenSea probably never anticipated when they raised their initial $120k seed round with Y Combinator in January of 2018 (yes, over 3 years in business!).
Potential for a broader marketplace, multiple blockchains, gasless transactions and much more could be on the horizon with the capital and experience to roll out and back these changes.
I am excited to see where this investment takes OpenSea. It is a huge leap of faith into a still new(ish) industry that has a ton of potential, but also technical hurdles that will need to be addressed. This is an impressive mix of investors that should make for a better user experience and maybe, or perhaps inevitably, be able to bring NFT’s to the public on a much larger, less complicated platform.
What changes or upgrades would you like to see on OpenSea? Drop a comment below!
Additional resource for OpenSea funding rounds: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/opensea