Calaxy, a Web3 social media app co-founded by NBA player Spencer Dinwiddie, has raised $26 million in new funding, the company announced Tuesday.
The HBAR Foundation and blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands co-led the raise, with participation from Ethereum scaling platform Polygon. The fresh funding brings Calaxy’s total raised to just shy of $34 million following a $7.5 million seed round last year.
Los Angeles-based Calaxy lets creators sell their own crypto tokens to fans, who can redeem the tokens for exclusive content, video messages and other forms of access to those creators. The company has essentially attached Web3 technology to validated creator economy models like Patreon, Cameo and OnlyFans, Calaxy co-founder and CEO Solo Ceesay told dot.LA, with the idea of getting people to use crypto in a way that’s familiar.
New Calaxy CEO Solo Ceesay.
Photo courtesy of Solo Ceesay
“It's meant to be quite intuitive,” Ceesay said. “It's meant to be something that doesn't feel like you're opening a brokerage account and investing in a creators’ cryptocurrency.”
For example, the creator tokens on Calaxy are initially priced one-to-one with U.S. currency—so buying 20 of Dinwiddie’s coins on the platform would cost a user $20. Eventually, the company will allow creators to opt into dynamic pricing, “but we want to make sure that journey is walked when the creator's fan base is ready,” Ceesay noted. Calaxy operates on Hedera Hashgraph, a distributed ledger technology that is an alternative to blockchain.
Dallas Mavericks guard Dinwiddie has established himself as one of the NBA’s earliest adopters of cryptocurrency—having notably converted a $34 million contract extension with the Brooklyn Nets in 2018 into a digital investment vehicle.
After initially serving as Calaxy’s CEO, Dinwiddie has now moved into an executive chair role at the startup; Ceesay, a former investment banker who became Calaxy’s chief operating officer in 2020, is succeeding Dinwiddie as CEO.
The 15-person company’s app is expected to emerge from beta testing this summer. Calaxy says it has lined up around 200 creators, celebrities and influencers for its platform, including Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot, Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard and singer Teyana Taylor.