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CryptoKitties Creator Dapper Labs Raises $15 Million from Venrock, Google, and Samsung

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by Darya Rudz · 4 min read
CryptoKitties Creator Dapper Labs Raises $15 Million from Venrock, Google, and Samsung
Photo: Dapper Labs / Medium

Dapper Labs, a startup behind CryptoKitties, has recently raised $15 million in a funding round led by Venrock, with participation from Google Ventures and Samsung Next.

One of the biggest events that marked penetration of blockchain into the game industry was developing a virtual kitten breeding game CryptoKitties. The company behind the game, Dapper Labs, has not stopped and decided to go further, adding new functions to CryptoKitties. With a view to attract more users to the game, the company is currently building out a U.S. office in Los Angeles. Moreover, it is establishing partnerships with household brands and figures.

At the moment, the cryptocurrency market sees its mundane sideways price action. However, CryptoKitties continues to enjoy growing interest from external investors. On Thursday, Dapper Labs raised about $15 million in funding in a round led by venture capital firm Venrock. Samsung Next and Google Ventures, the venture arm of Alphabet, participated as well and brought its total funding up to $27.9 million since launching November 2017.

The raised funds will be used to expand both locally and globally, and help the game reach billions of users. According to David Pakman, a partner at Venrock, blockchain technology is a natural evolution of the collecting industry. Pakman sees CryptoKitties as a specific case wherein blockchain allows people to collect rare or scarce things, which earlier was possible only offline. He said:

“Collecting is an incredibly large hobby from baseball cards, to art, to wine, to trinkets, to stamps. It’s widespread, and it’s something the species does. This is the thesis that they can effectively be a platform company for the launch of many, many different kinds of digital collectables.”

Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozolou is enthusiastic about blockchain as well:

“Everyone thought CryptoKitties was about buying cats… But it’s only the first step in a bigger vision. We believe that blockchain is going to change the everyday life for everyday people. We see it as a new platform the way social networks were, or the way mobile was a few years ago.”

Speaking of further development of the game, Gharegozlou said:

“Games are the way you understand how to use new tools. Solitaire taught drag-and-click. Minesweeper taught right click on a mouse. The original version of Hearts taught networking.”

Gharegozlou believes that the game can bring a billion people on the blockchain. He stated:

“I think this is a very big idea. I don’t know if this company is going to succeed at it. It’s very hard odds—the first movers aren’t always the ones to reap all the benefits. But I think this team has a chance of that.”

About CryptoKitties

Ethereum-based CryptoKitties is a virtual kitten breeding game which allows users to collect and breed digital cats. A cat owner can breed the cat by changing its features, adding colors and make their cats distinguish from other users present in the marketplace. All the collected “cats” with their breeds belong to the individual owners and can’t be cloned by other users.

Dieter Shirley, Dapper’s chief technology officer and the author of the non-fungible token stardand on Ethereum, said:

“We launched CryptoKitties as an innovative and play-driven introduction to what blockchain can do and mean for consumers. By engaging the community with fun and games, we reached much broader audiences. That taught us where the obstacles and opportunities are for blockchain and mainstream adoption, and we can’t wait to share what we’ve learned with the rest of the world.”

Soon after its launch, CryptoKitties became so popular that it clogged a considerable 15% of the Ethereum network. Popularity of CryptoKitties encouraged creating similar concept games with digital or crypto collectibles. In July of this year, CryptoKitties announced it would launch a brand new version of its app exclusively for HTC mobile devices.

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