a16z Leads $100M Round for NFT Unicorn OpenSea

The additional funding round brings the New York-based OpenSea valuation to $1.5 billion, giving the company unicorn status.

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Devin Finzer, co-founder and CEO, OpenSea

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key takeaways

  • “It’s becoming increasingly clear that blockchains represent one of the most exciting paradigm shifts in the history of technology,” the company said in a statement. “Just as the Internet transformed the global distribution of information, so blockchains will reimagine the global distribution of value,” it added
  • The new funding follows OpenSea’s most recent funding round of $23 million, also led by a16z, which was announced back in March

The first non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea raised $100 million in a Series B funding round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, or a16z, it announced Tuesday. 

The additional funding round brings the New York-based OpenSea valuation to $1.5 billion, giving the company unicorn status, which is when a privately held company or startup is valued over $1 billion. It is one of more than 900 unicorns in the global marketplace that make up a collective value of $3 trillion, according to data on the Crunchbase Unicorn Board. 

The company also announced cross-blockchain support, with a gas-free marketplace on the polygon blockchain. This means buyers don’t have to pay blockchain fees when making trades on OpenSea, it added. 

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that blockchains represent one of the most exciting paradigm shifts in the history of technology,” the company said in a blog post. “Just as the internet transformed the global distribution of information, so blockchains will reimagine the global distribution of value,” it added.

The round was led by a16z, which announced in late June that it was launching a $2.2 billion crypto fund that will invest in crypto-based networks and the founders and teams currently building within the digital assets space, Blockworks reported.

On Monday, a16z announced it promoted Arianna Simpson to general partner, roughly a year after she joined the company. 

Participants in this round include Coatue, along with Michael Ovitz, Kevin Hartz, Dylan Field, Kevin Durant, Ashton Kutcher, and Tobie Lutke. 

With this fundraising, OpenSea will continue to scale its NFT marketplace by hiring new talent and expanding on a global level into new markets. 

The new funding follows OpenSea’s most recent funding round of $23 million, also led by a16z, which was announced back in March. 

In general, there has been more headlines and adoption of NFTs as consumers want to purchase digital goods. NFTs are a simple primitive for digital goods like digital art, game items, domain names and more, while providing brand new properties, OpenSea wrote. 

In June, Binance launched its NFT marketplace with an auction featuring works from Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, Blockworks reported. 

“NFT technology has revolutionized the world of art for good, bringing the concept of digital ownership to life for the very first time,” Binance said in the press release. 

In 2021, the NFT market exceeded expectations with analysis showing between 1785% and 2100% growth in the first three months of 2021 alone, totalling more than $2 billion spent on NFT collectibles. 

While some speculate if the NFT growth is sustainable, the marketplace continues to trend and be promoted by celebrities and art connoisseurs. NFTs are being sold to collectors and cryptocurrency enthusiasts alike for millions of dollars in hopes of being the sole owner of these digital assets. 

“NFTs represent the building blocks for brand new peer to peer economies, where users have greater freedom and ownership over their data, and developers can build powerful, interoperable applications to provide real economic value to users,” the company said.

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