We think Dapper Labs is a leader in the space at the infrastructure level with Flow blockchain and in the application layer with NBA TopShot. We continue to be impressed by Roham’s strong leadership and vision and we could not be more proud to partner with him and the entire team at Dapper.””Blockchain and crypto are foundational underpinnings for the next wave of technology evolution,” said Mary Meeker, General Partner of BOND. “With NBA Top Shot and a compelling pipeline of products to come, Dapper Labs is leading the way with the innovative Flow platform. We are excited to be a part of this journey – and its next iterations – with Roham and team.”
This latest round follows a year of exponential growth for Dapper Labs.
“Blockchain and crypto are foundational underpinnings for the next wave of technology evolution,” said Mary Meeker, General Partner of BOND.
“With NBA Top Shot and a compelling pipeline of products to come, Dapper Labs is leading the way with the innovative Flow platform. We are excited to be a part of this journey – and its next iterations – with Roham and team.”
This latest round follows a year of exponential growth for Dapper Labs.
The NFT craze
Above: Akash Nigam is CEO of Genies.
Dapper Labs is the team behind NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties, which have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in NFT sales. A lot of people are excited about the nascent technology of NFTs — which has benefited from the craze stirred by Elon Musk‘s endorsement (and his wife/musician Grimes), Bitcoin breaking $50,000, GameStop shareholders’ grassroots revolt against Wall Street, and NBA Top Shot (listen to this ESPN podcast about it).
“It’s exciting for the whole category,” Nigam said.
“The next big play is Genies is going to be powering the whole marketplace. And we announced our partnership with Warner Music Group.
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However, now, thanks to generous funding, the team’s plans have become more global.
The CEO of Genies said that the company was previously interested in the idea of allowing celebrities to create their own avatars but then decided to expand the audience. Thus, after the launch, even 6-year-old children will be able to create their virtual incarnation in the NFT format.
In addition to characters, users will be able to create both individual items and entire collections, and then sell them for cryptocurrencies.
Dapper Labs which backs the Genies project has previously had a successful track record of launching similar ideas called NBA Top Shot.
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Dogecoin in it for approximately $148. The OpenSea and Rarible models differ, however, in that OpenSea includes the minting of the NFT as part of their process,7 whereas with Rarible, a seller has to pay to mint the NFT before the sale.8
Hybrid marketplaces, such as Genies, which closed a $65M funding round in May 2021, is a company that allows buyers to create custom avatars and is building tools and a marketplace where a consumer can create or buy customized wearable NFT goods, such as digital Gucci and North Face jackets, for those avatars.9 Dapper Labs, as another example, owns a series of gaming franchises and also co-created and operates Top Shot, an NFT marketplace with over $500 million in sales for animated trading cards for the NBA.10
Moreover, some marketplaces specialize in only a single type of NFT.
GIFs that make it easier simply to drop them into text chat conversations. By integrating it with Genies, it’s possible to throw your avatar into a chat or into an Instagram post.
“Today’s ecosystem of Genies is step one in our long-term vision of aligning physical personalities with digital personas,” said Nigam.
Later this year Genies has plans to open its new marketplace to hundreds of partners through its avatar and NFT software development kit so developers can embed the technology in whatever apps they wish.
This will greatly expand the reach of Genies audience creating a portable identity that users can carry wheresoever they go.
“Genies has opened the door to a new type of virtual self-expression that is changing the way we interact with one another online – starting with celebrities and moving to all of us,” said Mary Meeker, general partner at Bond.
With this new capital, Genies seeks to build out its avatar technology and hook into the wave of interest in non-fungible tokens. NFTs allow people to use distributed ledger blockchain technology to own, buy, sell and trade digital artwork objects on marketplaces.
To do this, the Genie avatar system will continue to build out its own digital goods marketplace on Dapper Labs’ Flow – a blockchain platform built for apps, games and the digital assets that power them.
The Series B funding round was led by Mary Meeker’s Bond with participation from Dapper Labs Inc., Polychain Capital LP, Hashkey Group, Coinbase Ventures and others.
Genies was founded in 2017 with the aim to provide styled virtual avatar creation and allow people to generate their own digital personas.
T platform on Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, partnering closely with the startup, which will be building out the backend for a Genies avatar accessories storefront. Like Dapper Labs has leveraged its exclusive deals with sports leagues to ship NFTs with official backing, Genies is planning to capitalize on its partnerships with celebrities in its roster, including Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B and others to create a platform for buying and trading avatar accessories en masse.
In October, the company announced a brand partnership with Gucci, opening the startup to another big market opportunity.
Genies updates its software development kit and partners with Gucci, Giphy
Genies’ business has largely focused on leveraging high-profile partnerships to give its entertainer clients a digital presence that can spice up what they’re sharing on social media and beyond.
Since it was founded in 2018, Dapper Labs has given consumer enthusiasts a real stake in the game by bringing them closer to the brands they love, enabling engaged and exciting communities for them to contribute to, and powering new pathways for them to become creators themselves. Dapper Labs’ current studio partners include the NBA, NBPA, WNBA, WNBPA, LaLiga, Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, Genies and UFC.
Notable investors in Dapper Labs include Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue, Union Square Ventures, Venrock, BOND, GIC, Google Ventures (GV), Samsung, and the founders of Dreamworks, Reddit, Coinbase, Zynga, and AngelList, among others.
Applying those same principles to NFTs, the purchase of an NFT for a piece of digital art does not inherently provide the NFT owner with any of the copyright rights I described earlier—not even the right to display the digital art in your home.”
So, what can be done to solve for this issue of ownership? In general, the rights that flow to the purchaser of a NFT are determined by the copyright owner, but the transfer of rights can be facilitated by the marketplaces themselves.14 For example, Dapper Labs, operator of NBA Top Shot platform, created a template NFT license that NFT sellers can adopt to outline what rights are being licensed to the NFT buyer.
Sorare has decided to expand to other professional sports while Dapper Labs just signed a partnership with LaLiga, the Spanish football association — LaLiga has also partnered with Sorare.
These two companies are taking a different approach and opting for a different tech stack. So it’s going to be interesting to see whether there’s enough room for two players.
Dapper Labs expects to launch its LaLiga experience in June 2022.
NBA Top Shot currently has 1.1 million registered users. These users have traded more than $780 million. Dapper Labs is also betting heavily on its infrastructure play with its new blockchain Flow.
Using your Genie avatar, you can be anyone you want to be in the way you want, communicating across the vast digital landscape.”
The idea of virtual avatars has long fascinated the human mind in science fiction literature especially in cyberpunk from books and movies such as “Snow Crash” and “Ready Player One.” And virtual reality is still making headway as Facebook Inc., HTC Corp. and others bring VR headsets to the mainstream with virtual avatars become a way for people to interact with friends, family and coworkers.
Image: GeniesA message from John Furrier, co-founder of SiliconANGLE: