Dibbs Raises $13 Million for Their Fractional NFT Marketplace

Caitlin Cook
Caitlin Cook is an editorial intern at dot.LA, currently earning her master's degree in mass communication from California State University, Northridge. A devoted multimedia journalist with an interest in both tech and entertainment, Cook also works as a reporter and production assistant for MUSE TV. She got her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Filmmaking from University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Dibbs Raises $13 Million for Their Fractional NFT Marketplace
Dibbs
What if you could own a small portion of a Mickey Mantle or Stephen Curry rookie card? A new marketplace for sports cards and NFTs wants to allow users to do exactly that.

El Segundo-based Dibbs, which brands itself as "the only real-time fractional sports card marketplace," secured a $13 million Series A round this week. Foundry Group led the round, with several superstar athletes such as Chris Paul and Skylar Diggins-Smith also participating.

Since last year, the sports card trade has reached record highs — in some cases, outpacing stock markets — with all-time high trading prices and a significant increase in online trades. The industry has even reeled in venture capitalists, including L.A.-based VCs Carter and Courtney Reum.

Alongside the growing interest in investing in physical cards is a booming market in trading sports-related digital tokens. The asset class known as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) has been expanding quickly, with marketplaces like NBA Top Shot making millions and upstarts like BallerTV minting tokens for high school athletes.

In a way, Dibbs combines these two industries. Traders can send their cards to Dibbs, who create digital representations of the card to be minted and sold as NFTs. While the card sits in a highly secure vault powered by PWCC Vault, the seller can profit off of the sales, and Dibbs takes a trading fee.

Dibbs sells these collectibles as fractional NFTs, meaning users do not have to contribute large amounts of money to participate in trades. Instead, they can own fractions of NFTs, which can be bought and sold on the platform.

So called "smart contracts" baked into the blockchain algorithm give buyers a full NFT once they've accumulated enough fractions. At that point, the user can either have the physical card sent to them or they can keep the full NFT to trade on other marketplaces.

"More than anything else, [the NFT craze has] gotten people to think about collecting differently," said CEO and co-founder Evan Vandenberg. "Before it was this kind of physical attachment, and I think people are now much more comfortable separating that possession from ownership concept and being able to do these things in a digital form."

Vandenberg said the appeal of owning a fraction of a sports card NFT lies in not only the affordability but also in the potential for this specific market to grow.

"Sports cards have been around since the 19th century, so we're talking about 100-plus years of actual collectability, of value," he said, adding that he hopes to see the market for digital cards grow as well. "I'm the biggest fan of NFTs. I hope they really have longevity."

The fractionalization of NFTs has stirred up controversy in the crypto world, prompting concerns that fractions of NFTs could at some point be reclassified as securities — meaning they would be legally subject to regulation. At the Security Token Summit last March, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce said of fractionalized NFTs, "You better be careful that you're not creating something that's an investment product. That is a security."

Such talk doesn't faze Vandenberg, who said Dibbs does not see their fractional NFTs as securities.

"Where fractional ownership — whether ownership of a network like Ethereum, or a particular NFT — can be accomplished in a transparent, open-source manner, without making purchasers beholden to the management efforts of the promoters, we see that as a win-win."

According to Vandenberg, tens of thousands of people signed up to the platform's waitlist before launch, and over 110,000 trades were made on Dibbs while it was in closed beta, which ended earlier this month.

The platform is now available to anyone over 18 in the U.S., and nearly 20,000 non-U.S. customers remain on its current waitlist, Vandenberg said.

🤠Musk Picks Texas and 🔥Tinder AI Picks Your Profile Pictures
Image Source: Tinder

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Tinder is altering dating profile creation with its new AI-powered Photo Selector feature, designed to help users choose their most appealing dating profile pictures. This innovative tool employs facial recognition technology to curate a set of up to 10 photos from the user's device, streamlining the often time-consuming process of profile setup. To use the feature, users simply take a selfie within the Tinder app and grant access to their camera roll. The AI then analyzes the photos based on factors like lighting and composition, drawing from Tinder's research on what makes an effective profile picture.

The selection process occurs entirely on the user's device, ensuring privacy and data security. Tinder doesn't collect or store any biometric data or photos beyond those chosen for the profile, and the facial recognition data is deleted once the user exits the feature. This new tool addresses a common pain point for users, as Tinder's research shows that young singles typically spend about 25 to 33 minutes selecting a profile picture. By automating this process, Tinder aims to reduce profile creation time and allow users to focus more on making meaningful connections.

In wholly unrelated news, Elon Musk has announced plans to relocate the headquarters of X (formerly Twitter) and SpaceX from California to Texas. SpaceX will move from Hawthorne to Starbase, while X will shift from San Francisco to Austin. Musk cited concerns about aggressive drug users near X's current headquarters and a new California law regarding gender identity notification in schools as reasons for the move. This decision follows Musk's previous relocation of Tesla's headquarters to Texas in 2021.

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  • Penguin Random House agreed to acquire comic book publisher Boom! Studios from backers like Walt Disney Co. - learn more

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Top LA Accelerators that Entrepreneurs Should Know About

Los Angeles, has a thriving startup ecosystem with numerous accelerators, incubators, and programs designed to support and nurture new businesses. These programs provide a range of services, including funding, mentorship, workspace, networking opportunities, and strategic guidance to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas and scale their companies.


Techstars Los Angeles

Techstars is a global outfit with a chapter in Los Angeles that opened in 2017. It prioritizes local companies but will fund some firms based outside of LA.

Location: Culver City

Type of Funding: Pre-seed, early stage

Focus: Industry Agnostic

Notable Past Companies: StokedPlastic, Zeno Power


Grid110

Grid110 offers no-cost, no-equity programs for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, including a 12-week Residency accelerator for early-stage startups, an Idea to Launch Bootcamp for pre-launch entrepreneurs, and specialized programs like the PledgeLA Founders Fund and Friends & Family program, all aimed at providing essential skills, resources, and support to help founders develop and grow their businesses.

Location: DTLA

Type of Funding: Seed, early stage

Focus: Industry Agnostic

Notable Past Companies: Casetify, Flavors From Afar


Idealab

Idealab is a renowned startup studio and incubator based in Pasadena, California. Founded in 1996 by entrepreneur Bill Gross, Idealab has a long history of nurturing innovative technology companies, with over 150 startups launched and 45 successful IPOs and acquisitions, including notable successes like Coinbase and Tenor.

Location: Pasadena

Type of Funding: Stage agnostic

Focus: Industry Agnostic, AI/Robotics, Consumer, Clean Energy

Notable Past Companies: Lumin, Coinbase, Tenor


Plug In South LA

Plug In South LA is a tech accelerator program focused on supporting and empowering Black and Latinx entrepreneurs in the Los Angeles area. The 12-week intensive program provides early-stage founders with mentorship, workshops, strategic guidance, potential pilot partnerships, grant funding, and networking opportunities to help them scale their businesses and secure investment.

Location: Los Angeles

Type of Funding: Pre-seed, seed

Focus: Industry Agnostic, Connection to South LA and related communities

Notable Past Companies: ChargerHelp, Peadbo


Cedars-Sinai Accelerator

The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator is a three-month program based in Los Angeles that provides healthcare startups with $100,000 in funding, mentorship from over 300 leading clinicians and executives, and access to Cedars-Sinai's clinical expertise and resources. The program aims to transform healthcare quality, efficiency, and care delivery by helping entrepreneurs bring their innovative technology products to market, offering participants dedicated office space, exposure to a broad network of healthcare entrepreneurs and investors, and the opportunity to pitch their companies at a Demo Day.

Location: West Hollywood

Type of Funding: Seed, early stage, convertible note

Focus: Healthcare, Device, Life Sciences

Notable Past Companies: Regard, Hawthorne Effect


MedTech Innovator

MedTech Innovator is the world's largest accelerator for medical technology companies, based in Los Angeles, offering a four-month program that provides selected startups with unparalleled access to industry leaders, investors, and resources without taking equity. The accelerator culminates in showcase events and competitions where participating companies can win substantial non-dilutive funding, with the program having a strong track record of helping startups secure FDA approvals and significant follow-on funding.

Location: Westwood

Type of Funding: Seed, early stage

Focus: Health Care, Health Diagnostics, Medical Device

Notable Past Companies: Zeto, Genetesis


KidsX

The KidsX Accelerator in Los Angeles is a 10-week program that supports early-stage digital health companies focused on pediatric care, providing mentorship, resources, and access to a network of children's hospitals to help startups validate product-market fit and scale their solutions. The accelerator uses a reverse pitch model, where participating hospitals identify focus areas and work closely with selected startups to develop and pilot digital health solutions that address specific pediatric needs.

Location: East Hollywood

Type of Funding: Pre-seed, seed, early stage

Focus: Pediatric Health Care Innovation

Notable Past Companies: Smileyscope, Zocalo Health


Disney Accelerator

Disney Accelerator is a startup accelerator that provides early-stage companies in the consumer media, entertainment and technology sectors with mentorship, guidance, and investment from Disney executives. The program, now in its 10th year, aims to foster collaborations and partnerships between innovative technology companies and The Walt Disney Company to help them accelerate their growth and bring new experiences to Disney audiences.

Location: Burbank

Type of Funding: Growth stage

Focus: Technology and entertainment

Notable Past Companies: Epic Games, BRIT + CO, CAMP


Techstars Space Accelerator

Techstars Space Accelerator is a startup accelerator program focused on advancing the next generation of space technology companies. The three-month mentorship-driven program brings together founders from across the globe to work on big ideas in aerospace, including rapid launch services, precision-based imaging, operating systems for complex robotics, in-space servicing, and thermal protection.

Location: Los Angeles

Type of Funding: Growth stage

Focus: Aerospace

Notable Past Companies: Pixxel, Morpheus Space



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🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
Image Source: Joby Aviation

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Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.


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