Big Whale Labs raises $655,000 to accelerate NFT product development

Big Whale Labs, a Vancouver-based web 3 social startup, raised $655,000 USD in September from a pre-seed funding round led by Slow Ventures, with participation from Samsung Next, Intonation Ventures, and NFT Investments PLC.

Its angel investors were Anton Bukov and Sergej Kunz, co-founders of 1inch Network; Alex Shin, co-founder of Hashed; Ajeet Khurana, former CEO of Zebpay; Kevin Sandhu, co-founder of Control; and other undisclosed individuals.

Founded in August, by Jason Kim and Nikita Kolmogorov, Big Whale Labs is leveraging web 3 technologies to “reimagine what digital identity, the social graph, and network could be.” Built on the Ethereum blockchain, the startup’s initial product allows its users to build and interact as pseudonymous NFT identities but with verified credentials and reputations attached to these non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Kim and Kolmogorov met while college floormates about a decade ago and worked on iOS apps together when they were just teenagers. With their new capital, the pair said they plan to use the funding to accelerate Big Whale Labs’ product development as it gears up to launch its first product.

Big Whale Labs’ current lineup of products in development include Dosu, a web 3 social app; StreetCred, its pseudonymous credential protocol; and SocialGraph. The company said it is currently on track for shipping an early version of its products, starting with a NFTs drop and an early testnet version of StreetCred and Dosu.

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“Our goal with Big Whale Labs is to enhance how web 3 communities interact on web 2 platforms like Discord and Telegram,” said Kim. “And to also introduce new mechanisms that are completely native to web 3 like owning fractional identities, your social graph, and pseudonymous but verified credentials.”

The popularity of NFTs continues to skyrocket, as Nasdaq reported that weekly NFT sales went from around 11,000 units in January to over 600,000 in 2021.

“This growth is tied to several factors, such as insane runs in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, the emergence and success of popular marketplaces such as NBA Top Shot and Crypto Kitties, as well as the growing digital collectibles market, which advanced further due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report states.

Vancouver-based blockchain startup Dapper Labs is the creator of NBA Top Shot and Crypto Kitties and has seen continued success from its NBA Top Shot product, a virtual “Moments” card displaying the highlights of individual NBA players.

Most recently, Dapper Labs acquired Los-Angeles-based Brud for an undisclosed amount. This comes two weeks after the former raised $250 million USD ($319.1 million CAD) in new funding, led by New York-based global investment manager Coatue.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and the business and technology editor at The Eyeopener, Ryerson's largest independent newspaper.