Autograph, an NFT platform co-founded by professional football player Tom Brady, raised $170 million in a Series B funding round led by Silicon Valley investors Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins.
The startup, launched in July, also received investments from Lightspeed Venture partner Nicole Quinn and Katie Haun’s new firm. Haun, who recently left a16z, as Andreessen Horowitz is known, to start her own venture, is also joining as a board member, along with a16z partners Arianna Simpson and Chris Dixon, and Kleiner Perkins partner Ilya Fushman.
Brady has been one of the highest profile advocates from the world of sports and entertainment for cryptocurrencies, donning “laser eyes”—a stealth mark among crypto supporters—on his Twitter profile picture. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has taken an equity stake in leading crypto exchange FTX, whose founder Sam Bankman-Fried also sits on the board of Autograph. Last year, Brady launched an NFT collection on his platform that sold out within minutes.
Based in Los Angeles, Autograph helps athletes and entertainers launch and promote their non-fungible tokens. Its chief executive officer, Dillion Rosenblatt, formerly worked at Cameo and Apple Music. Its rosters of celebrities with NFT deals include Tiger Woods, Noami Osaka and Tony Hawk. Fans can purchase the NFTs at designated platforms, such as DraftKings Inc and OpenSea. Valuation of the startup was not disclosed today.
NFTs, a $44 billion market, have become one of the hottest corners of crypto, drawing interests from celebrities, retailers and institutions outside of the crypto industry. Venture capital funds in Silicon Valley have been making bets in the space. In a blog post, Kleiner Perkins’ Fushman wrote that Autograph will be a “cornerstone platform” bringing web3 to the mainstream.
“The company is becoming a magnet for top talent, and I’m delighted to join the board to help Autograph bring exciting new NFT experiences to the mainstream,” Simpson said in a statement.
—With assistance from Lizette Chapman.
This article was provided by Bloomberg News.