The firm specifically sought investors in the sports and entertainment industries to stick with the current NFT curve
Metaplex Foundation, the creator of Solana’s NFT protocol Metaplex, has today said it completed a funding round in which it raised $46 million.
The round was co-led by Jump Crypto and Multicoin Capital, with several other major brands, including Alameda research, Solana Ventures and Animoca Brands involved. Prominent public figures, including American rapper Snoop Dogg and several retired as well as active pro basketballers such as Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Kevin Love took part.
DJ production duo The Chainsmokers (via Mantis Venture Capital firm) and New York Knicks Executive Vice President also participated.
In total, 90 investors pitched in the fundraising. Stephen Hess, director of the Metaplex Foundation, told The Block that the firm’s first-ever raise took the path of a simple agreement for future tokens (SAFT). Typically, with an SATF, a contractual agreement is reached for the future transfer of crypto tokens to investors.
The firm will invest in those advancing Metaplex
Cash-flushed, Metaplex Foundation plans to channel the capital raised into scaling support for gaming and metaverse applications.
“We are keen to support the projects and developers who are expanding the functionality of the Metaplex protocol,” the director said.
According to Hess, the Foundation will also aim to improve developer tools and expand the potential use cases of Solana’s NFTs into social applications. The firm expects that this would help diversify Solana apps into mobile devices.
“We’ll have an iOS SDK and an Android SDK coming out this year, which are going to allow this next generation of mobile apps to be built quickly. It will solve a lot of the tension and difficulty that the software engineering community at large had working with the blockchain and specifically Solana, which can be tricky,” Hess told Decrypt.
The expansion strategy will potentially boost the protocol’s standing as it has already created more than 5.7 million digital collectibles. Serving as Solana’s standard NFT protocol, Metaplex’s projects are spread across 85,000 projects under the ownership of more than 600,000 unique collectors.
Metaplex Foundation took a strategic approach in the investors it went after to participate in this inaugural raise.
The organisation believes that having investors greatly involved in sports and entertainment will be crucial in working closely with creators to build the next NFTs.
“From the very beginning, a principle that we’ve held to and has served us well is really looking to creators—and people that work in the entertainment, media, and sports industries—for inspiration in terms of where we take NFTs next,” Hess remarked.
Hess also noted that the Metaplex Foundation intends to release its governance token, META soon.