San Francisco-based non fungible tokens (NFT) startup Bitski raised $19 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Various creators and celebrities, including Jay-Z also participated in the investment. In total, the company has raised $23.4 million to date. The company provides NFT infrastructure by enabling the creation of custom storefronts, providing a wallet and developer tools.
Just yesterday, Bitski ran an auction of NFTs for Trevor Lawrence, the first pick in the 2021 NFL football Draft. The NFTs celebrate his achievement and the $87,000 raised will go towards Jacksonville charities following his signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
A couple of months have passed since the NFT hype reached a peak with the $69 million digital art auction at Christie’s in early March. Despite the slight drop-off in interest, NFTs are still making headlines. Ever more brands are partnering with NFT developers such as Playboy and SEGA.
Bitski’s target market is the brands, celebrities and developers who use the platform to develop and sell NFTs under their own name. The NFTs are minted on the Ethereum blockchain, but Bitski takes care of the key management. On the one hand, this addresses a key usability challenge with which mainstream users struggle. However, like cryptocurrency exchanges, it means there is a risk that Bitski could be hacked.
The simplification of NFT transactions for end-users is essential for the industry’s success and for it to appeal to a broader audience. Bitski is making NFT transactions more similar to a regular online shopping experience and already manages over 10 million requests per day on more than 300 apps built using its platform.
Meanwhile, Winklevoss Capital, Animoca Brands, and Coinbase have also previously invested in Bitski. As for Andreessen Horowitz, the group has also invested in NBA Top Shot creator Dapper Labs and NFT marketplace OpenSea and numerous other cryptocurrency firms.
Update: The original article mentioned that Serena Williams was an investor, but Bitski stated investment documents have not been finalized.