NFT Startup Unblocked Raises New Funding, Teases Collectibles Beyond Music
Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Backed by venture giant Tiger Global, Jay Z’s Marcy Venture Partners and pop star Shawn Mendez, NFT startup Unblocked could soon move into ventures beyond music after closing on a $10 million seed funding round.
The Los Angeles-based startup, also known as The Non Fungible Token Company, has now raised $15 million in total capital after previously sealing a $5 million pre-seed round last summer. Tiger Global led the new funding alongside media publisher Jay Penske’s Penske Media Corp., while Dapper Labs, Oaktree Capital, BAM Ventures, B Capital and M13 were also among the participating investors. Unblocked is now claiming a $90 million-plus valuation after the seed round.
The music industry-focused company has recently partnered with the likes of ‘90s hip-hop group Cypress Hill and the Penske-owned Billboard to issue NFT collectibles. When asked about potential moves beyond music, Unblocked CEO Harrison Wang told dot.LA that “almost every sector” is on the table, with the startup having “partners lined up in sports, fitness, gaming, art, CPG brands, alcohol, etc.,” he said.
Priced anywhere from $20 to nearly $2,000, Unblocked’s Cypress Hill collectibles are just that—licensed digital collectibles with little utility. However, additional perks may be on the way; the startup could also build “gamification” features around its NFTs, investor Primary Wave Music’s head of content, Natalia Nastaskin, told industry publication Music Business Worldwide.
While most NFTs exist on the Ethereum blockchain, Wang said concerns over its energy usage was one of the factors that drove Unblocked to Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, which he described as more “energy efficient.”
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