Dapper Labs raises $14.5 million CAD, announces development of new blockchain


Dapper Labs, the Vancouver-based creator of CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, announced it has raised $14.5 million CAD ($11 million USD) in funding, and is developing a new blockchain technology.

“As a player-centric technology, we believe blockchain can help make players true stakeholders.”
– Nicolas Pouard, Ubisoft

The funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz‘s crypto fund, and saw participation from new investors Accomplice, AppWorks, Autonomous Partners, Fenbushi Digital, and Warner Music Group, as well as existing investors Union Square Ventures, Venrock, Animoca Brands, SV Angel, and Version One, among others. The funding will be used to support the development of the company’s new blockchain, called Flow.

“After almost two years of research, we’re excited to share Flow with the world,” said Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs. “Flow is a blockchain built from the ground up to support high performance ecosystems of apps and games without compromising decentralization. Bitcoin and Ethereum show how crypto can make the world of finance more open and transparent; Flow will do the same for consumers of entertainment and culture.”

Flow, now in development, is aimed to enable decentralized applications at scale. Some of the experiences offered by Flow include: games that reward players for adding value; artists or bands using crypto tokens to give fans new ways to show their fandom and; platforms for sports fans around the world to trade verified, authentic, limited-edition digital memorabilia in real-time.

TDapper Labs claims that the new blockchain will be capable of handling transaction volumes many times more than Ethereum, even while expanding on a number of other blockchain projects. Warner Music and Ubisoft will all be partnering with Dapper Labs on the development of Flow, which is set to launch in 2020, while game developer Animoca Brands will be one of the first gaming companies to build on Flow.

“Warner Music is always searching for new opportunities for our artists and has dedicated itself to exploring emerging technologies to enable these,” said Jeff Bronikowski, senior vice president of global digital business development and head of innovation and emerging technology at Warner Music Group. “When we met with Dapper Labs, they immediately understood our vision so we sought to solidify the partnership through this strategic investment.”

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Ubisoft, which has developed video games like Far Cry, Just Dance, and Assassin’s Creed, is also partnering with Dapper Labs to advise on Flow and provide industry feedback on the new blockchain.

“We are eager to learn more from Dapper Labs, some of the most talented pioneers in the field of blockchain-gaming, while bringing our own experience of the gaming industry and triple-A development,” said Nicolas Pouard, blockchain initiative director at Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab. “As a player-centric technology, we believe blockchain can help make players true stakeholders and we can’t wait to see what we will achieve with this partnership.”

Formed in February 2018, Dapper Labs was spun out of design company Axiom Zen. The company created CryptoKitties, which is a blockchain game on Ethereum developed by Axiom Zen that allows players to purchase, collect, breed, and sell virtual cats. Last year, it raised $19 million CAD ($15 million USD) in financing led by Venrock. In August Dapper partnered with the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association to jointly develop a digital platform called NBA Top Shot.

Image courtesy Dapper Labs

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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