By Riley Kaminer
Who said the market for NFTs was cooling down? At least in South Florida, investor appetite for this flavor of web3 innovation remains strong.
The latest case in point: Miami-based Doodles has closed a $54 million funding round – the brand’s first – at a $704 million valuation. Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six venture fund led the fundraise, with additional participation from FTX Ventures, 10T Holdings, and Acrew Capital.
Doodles, which was founded in 2021 by Dapper Labs alumni Evan Keast and Jordan Castro, has gained notoriety for its colorful collection of NFT avatars. Ohanian first got involved with the brand as a collector himself. Now a wide range of celebrities can be seen sporting their Doodles, including Justin Bieber, Steve Aoki, and business guru Gary Vaynerchuk.
This funding will enable Doodles to grow their creative, operations, and technical teams. It will also provide the dry powder necessary for Doodles to supercharge their product development through acquisitions and proprietary technology, media, and collector experiences.
“With this capital, we aim to continue developing a new generation of engaging experiences and content using blockchain technology, including NFTs,” Doodles chief executive Julian Holguin said in a statement.
“We’re thrilled to have Seven Seven Six believe in our vision to build the largest and most coveted web3 media brand worldwide, bridging consumer, culture, and entertainment,” Holguin continued. “Our mission is to redefine what it means to be a world class intellectual property.”
Holguin, who comes to Doodles after having been president of Billboard, said that they are particularly excited to have Seven Seven Six partner Katelin Holloway on board. Holloway, a seasoned HR exec, was VP of People and Culture at Reddit.
“As we scale and we scale rapidly, having her as a sounding board and as a true partner is going to be invaluable because we want to be built on culture, we want to elicit joy and creativity,” Holguin told Forbes.
“We believe Doodles is developing the next digital frontier of how we experience and create content, unlocking the real value behind NFTs,” commented Holloway.
“Reimagining storytelling through the blockchain, Doodles is changing the way the world connects and interacts,” she continued in a statement. “We’re so excited to partner with Doodles and the team as they continue transforming what the next generation of entertainment and media looks like.”
Community has been core to Doodles since its first mint in October. This has increased the brand’s popularity, leading to some NFTs to sell for as much as 296.69 ETH (over $1 million at the time of sale). Want to get in at the bottom floor? The least expensive Doodle is going to run you at least 7 ETH.
The transaction volume of Doodles is down 6.41% over the next 30 days – but that pales in comparison to Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, which are down 40% and 77%, respectively.
Doodles works with its collectors to help commercialize their NFTs for up to $100,000 before needing a licensing agreement. “We’re very keen on actually developing other people’s opportunities to utilize their characters in their own commercial efforts,” Holguin said. “It just needs to be controlled.”
In June, Pharrell Willians joined Doodles as chief brand officer. Holguin signaled that the company is hoping for music NFTs to onboard new people into the web3 world at scale. Doodles’ upcoming music NFT project will be released in partnership with Columbia Records within the next six months. And Space Doodles, the brand’s gaming arm, hopes to help users purchase characters and animations using their fiat credit cards – no crypto needed.
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