By Jeff Benson | Decrypt.Co
OpenSea had its second-best month for Ethereum NFT volume in December, so it’s no surprise that VCs want in.
- The Series C funding round was led by Paradigm and Coatue.
- OpenSea raised $100 million in a Series B round in July 2021.
The leading NFT marketplace OpenSea announced Tuesday it has raised $300 million in a Series C funding round and is now valued at $13.3 billion.
The round was led by venture capital firms Paradigmand Coatue.
KRH, the current holding name for the new fund from former Andreessen Horowitz general partner Katie Haun, also confirmed to Decrypt it participated in the round; a16z participated in both the Series A and Series B, and Haun holds a board seat on OpenSea.
In a blog post announcing the funding, OpenSea co-founder and CEO Devin Finzer said the money would be used to ramp up product development and hire more staff while improving customer support and helping grow the larger NFT and Web3 space. “Our vision is to be the destination for these new open digital economies to thrive,” Finzer said in an emailed statement. “We’ll start this year by lowering the barriers to entry to the NFT space on OpenSea and investing in the ecosystem and the community that powers it.”
As recently as July 2020, OpenSea was valued at $1.5 billion after a Series B round that brought in $100 million. In November, The Information reported that it was set for a $10 billion valuation from its Series C.
The $13.3 billion figure OpenSea is reporting today demonstrates the growing appeal of NFTs—blockchain-based deeds of ownership to digital items. OpenSea has hosted some of the most popular Ethereum-based NFT collections in the space, including Bored Ape Yacht Cluband CryptoPunks.
As Decrypt reported just this week, OpenSea’s monthly volume has continued to impress, months after many declared non-fungible tokens a fad back last June, when the initial frenzy cooled. In August, the NFT market caught fire again, and in December OpenSea registered its second-largest month ever with $3 billion worth of Ethereum NFTs trading hands.
It hasn’t slowed down in the new year so far. It had its third-best trading day ever on January 2 with $243 million in Ethereum NFT volume. Its Polygon NFT trading volume is also on the rise, growing in three consecutive months to hit $76.1 million in December.
As part of the fundraising announcement, Finzer revealed OpenSea has hired former Facebook executive Shiva Rajaraman as its new VP of Product. OpenSea’s previous head of product was Nate Chastain, who left the company after it was discovered he used inside information to buy NFTs before they appeared on the marketplace and sold them at a profit.
Rajamaran will be tasked with helping the company support NFTs from other blockchains (Solana’s NFT scene is growing) and connecting users with tools to find digital art and manage their collections.
Last month, OpenSea hired a new CFO from Lyft, Brian Roberts, who promptly courted some criticism from crypto fans when he hinted at a traditional IPO.
Paradigm co-founder Fred Ehrsam tweeted that the OpenSea founders “have shown true grit over the last four years, weathering uncertainty and sticking to their vision of NFTs as an internet- and world-changing primitive.”
NFTs have certainly made a splash and entered the mainstream cultural conversation in 2021. In the coming years, we’ll see whether one site that sells them is worth $13+ billion.
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