OpenSea, one of the most talked about start-ups in Silicon Valley, said on Tuesday that it had raised $300 million in new venture capital, making it the latest company to cash in on a rush to fund start-ups.
The new round of funding, led by the investment firms, brings the start-up's valuation to a staggering $13.3 billion just four years after it was founded. OpenSea raised more than $100 million from a number of investors, including the investment firm and the actor, according to data provided by the company.
OpenSea was founded in order to allow people to buy and sell NFTs, which are unique pieces of digital code.
The most popular NFT items are pieces of digital art created by artists who list their pieces for auction on the OpenSea site, similar to listing on eBay. Winning bids can sometimes reach hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ether, a popular cription and block chain technology.
OpenSea has become the central place for enthusiasts to trade NFTs as the popularity of start-ups has grown. That has attracted the attention of investors who are interested in placing large bets on the space.
According to data compiled by PitchBook, a firm that tracks private investments, more than $3 billion in private investment went into NFT companies in 2011. According to PitchBook, investors poured more than $28 billion into start-ups in the last year.
In 2021, the world woke up to the potential of NFTs to unlock utility and economic empowerment across a vast set of industries, communities and creative categories, according to one of the founders and the chief executive of OpenSea. Our goal is to be the location for these new open digital economies to thrive.
The frenzy around NFTs is a fad, according to many critics. There was a brief controversy surrounding OpenSea last week after one of its patrons claimed that $2.2 million worth of NFTs had been stolen from him. Open Sea froze the stolen assets and banned the items from being traded on its site.
Technology has not been stopped by those worries. Start-ups focused on cryptocurrencies and NFTs are recruiting employees from big tech companies like Meta and Amazon with the promise of working on new technologies. Brian Roberts, the former chief financial officer at Lyft, joined OpenSea as its first chief financial officer. Shiva Rajaraman, a former vice president of commerce for Meta, was hired as the company's vice president of product.
The company plans to double the size of its trust and safety team in order to take advantage of the new funding. The company plans to invest heavily in product development to make its technology more accessible to mainstream consumers, and will soon launch a grant program to support creators in the NFT space.
The tech newsletter Newcomer reported that OpenSea was seeking funding.