OpenSea is Ready to Jump to New Heights After Fresh Capital Raise

The craze around non-fungible tokens (NFT) was perhaps the most prominent trend across the crypto industry last year. Everywhere we went, people were talking about NFTs and making money.

OpenSea is Ready to Jump to New Heights After Fresh Capital Raise

NFTs are still a hot ticket, and the most prominent name in the space, OpenSea, is looking to expand its influence in 2022.

Going Up in the Billion-Dollar Club

In the first week of 2022, OpenSea announced it had completed its Series C capital raise. The NFT marketplace raised $300 million in the capital raise, the funding round led by investment management firm Coatue Management L.L.C. and crypto venture capital firm Paradigm.

Fresh off the capital raise, OpenSea saw valuation soar to a staggering $13.3 billion. The company is now one of the world's most valuable crypto firms - a far cry from early 2021 when it was essentially an unknown.

Rumors about OpenSea's capital raise first surfaced in November. A report from The Information claimed that the NFT marketplace had been offered capital for a $10 billion valuation. The report also said its valuation could rise to $13 billion as investors lined up to throw their weight behind OpenSea.

A Long Trail of Money Coming In

The new capital raise is the third in OpenSea's history. The company's first capital raise came early last year, with venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz leading a $223 million raise. This was right when NFTs were starting to grow on people, and OpenSea was positioned to become a cornerstone of the industry.

Besides Andreessen, several other notable investors - including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian - participated in the round.

The second funding round came in July. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, with OpenSea raising an impressive $100 million at a $1.5 billion valuation. A slew of celebrity investors - including basketball star Kevin Durant and actor Ashton Kutcher - also invested in the NFT marketplace.

OpenSea Eyes Growth Opportunities

OpenSea is a giant and looking to grow bigger. Numbers are already impressive. In December 2021 alone, the NFT marketplace processed over $2.4 billion in transactions. It made hundreds of millions from fees alone, activity on the platform ballooning at every turn.

In a blog post, company chief executive Devin Finzer noted that transaction volumes on OpenSea jumped to over 600 times throughout 2021.

Speaking on how the company plans to scale, Finzer said OpenSea aimed to invest heavily in four areas - product development and improvement, team expansions, customer support growth, and investments in the broader Web3 and crypto community.

The company is wasting no time. Apart from the funding announcement, OpenSea confirmed it had hired Shiva Rajaraman as Vice President of Product. Rajaraman joins OpenSea from Meta (formerly Facebook), bringing a wealth of experience spanning years working with tech giants like Spotify, YouTube, and WeWork.

"We're focused on lowering the barriers to entry for NFTs by introducing features and simplified flows that abstract away the complexity of the blockchain. We're also accelerating our multi-chain support and prioritizing improvements to help people discover, manage, and showcase their NFTs with better tools, analytics, and presentation," Finzer said.

Competitors Coming In This Year

OpenSea is on top of the world right now, and the new year could be make-or-break. NFTs were still a novelty when it raised its two first capital rounds. Now, everyone knows about NFTs and wants to get into the space. The company won't have that first-mover advantage.

OpenSea already has several competitors - including Rarible and Nifty Gateway, the latter owned by the Winklevoss Twins' Gemini Foundation. In October, Coinbase - North America's largest crypto exchange - announced it would launch an NFT marketplace soon. The waitlist for Coinbase's NFT marketplace is now open.

OpenSea is out to assert dominance among NFT marketplaces. It's no easy feat, but the company has a $300 million war chest to help out.

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