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MakersPlace has raised $ 30 million for a digital art marketplace that uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The company rose to fame when artist Beeple auctioned off a piece of art on MakersPlace for $ 69.3 million in March.
The NFT market for digital art has generated over $ 100 million in sales over the past year and has seen the number of unique collectors increase tenfold.
San Francisco-based MakersPlace wants to enable a vibrant future for digital creativity. The company will use the funds to acquire additional talent and expand its business in existing markets while exploring new ones. NFTs have become a big hit this year, with around $ 164 million in sales in the last week alone. NFTs use the secure and transparent blockchain digital ledger to verify unique digital items. This can authenticate unique digital art items.
Investing in NFT-based startups is wide and deep, even though many people in the mainstream have never heard of or don’t trust them. This wave of innovation combined with financial might could very well change our world – at least that’s what investors who fund NFT startups think about every week.
Bessemer Venture Partners and Pantera Capital co-led the cycle, with participation from Uncork Capital, Draper Dragon Digital Assets, 9Yards Capital, Next Play Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and Sony Music Entertainment.
Notable angel investors in the cycle complement MakersPlace’s strategic expansion into markets that have proven critical to recent growth. These investors include: Acquavella Galleries, Sabrina Hahn and Bill Ruprecht in the arts; Eminem, Paul Rosenberg and 3LAU in music; Larry Fitzgerald and Shari Glazer in sports; and Eric Baker, Julia and Kevin Hartz, Vinny Lingham and Tobias Lütke in tech.
MakersPlace was founded in 2018 by former Pinterest colleagues Dannie Chu and Yash Nelapati, and e-commerce veteran Ryoma Ito. They pioneered the use of blockchain technology in the NFT art community to ensure the authenticity, uniqueness, and ownership of the digital creators generating and selling their work. In their respective positions, the trio witnessed firsthand both the plethora of creativity in the digital world and the lack of recognition and compensation for creators.
MakersPlace said that since its inception, it has focused on quality, trust, and ease of use as it seeks to differentiate itself from other NFT platforms. Notably, the company has attracted a large mainstream audience as the first NFT marketplace to accept both cryptocurrency (ETH) and non-cryptocurrency (US dollars) payments, which it facilitates through through crypto wallet and credit card transactions, respectively.
Investors have said that MakersPlace is having a huge impact on digital creators and collectors and now is the time to expand it into uncharted territory.
MakersPlace grabbed the world’s attention this spring when it researched, manufactured and released Everydays: The First 5000 Days by digital artist Beeple. The work sold for $ 69.3 million at auction house Christie’s, one of the highest prices ever paid for a work (in any medium) by a living artist. This marked a sea change in the appreciation and market for rare digital art.
MakersPlace continued to support this dynamic. The results were driven, in part, by collaborations with leading digital creators such as Pak, DeadMau5, Urs Fischer, Bosslogic, Trevor Jones, Patrick Mahomes, 3LAU, Jose Delbo, and Lushsux.
The MakersPlace team also added key executives including Darrell Rocha as Head of Communications (formerly of Sotheby’s auction house), Keith Bormuth as Head of Design (formerly of Pinterest and Nike) and David Weier as Head of Music Partnerships (formerly of Fuse and VH1). The company has 17 employees.
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