LA has become somewhat of a hotspot of NFT-related activity over the last year. A long line of NFT platforms have chosen to plant their legs in the sands of Silicon Beach, and investors are taking notice. The latest raise for Santa Monica-based NFT agency Autograph is a surefire sign that the NFT market will remain one of LA’s top tech sectors to watch in 2022.
After launching less than a year ago, Autograph has already managed to grab the attention of a few famous athletes including Simone Biles and Derek Jeter. Now, the company is receiving a fresh injection of capital to support it as it continues to scale. Autograph announced Wednesday that it grabbed $170 million in a Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins.
The latest raise comes less than a year following the company’s Series A. The $35 million round closed last summer and, at the time, valued the company at a cool $735 million, according to PitchBook data.
Autograph got off the ground last August. The startup was co-founded by superstar quarterback Tom Brady and Whip Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt. In addition to featured collections from Biles and Jeter, the platform offers a wide range of signed collectibles available for sale from the likes of Tony Hawk, Tiger Woods and Naomi Osaka.
Each of the featured athletes on Autograph’s platform can drop a limited number of NFT collectibles across two categories: Premier drops and Signature drops. The primary difference between the two? Exclusivity.
While multiple versions of each collectible are available across each category, Premier drops contain a much higher volume of those available for purchase. Signature drop collectibles on the other hand, include authentic digital signatures. Each signature is completely unique. If there are 200 signed editions of a Tony Hawk collectible, for example, each one of those collectibles will have been individually signed.
Users hoping to access the Autograph platform will first need a DraftKings account. DraftKings primarily operates as a sports betting platform, but the company has recently teamed up with Autograph to facilitate the sale of its digitally signed collectibles.
“Our creative team works very closely with our athlete partners to create an authentic, artistic collection for consumers,” Rosenblatt said in a previous statement. “The speed at which we sold out is a testament to the high-quality and accessibility of the unique product we are offering.”
Waiting rooms for each drop open 30 minutes prior to the scheduled release time so that users can get a chance to join the digital queue.
With the additional capital, the company plans to greatly increase the size of its team. Autograph is now hiring for 40 positions spanning its engineering, marketing and recruiting teams, to name a few.