Haun Ventures invests $50 million in NFT startup Zora

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Published on 05/12/2022

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Zora, an Ethereum-based marketplace for purchasing, trading, and curating new financial tokens, has raised $50 million in new funding, making its total valuation to $600 million.

The funding was led by Haun Ventures, which was founded by Katie Haun, who previously worked at Andreessen Horowitz's cryptocurrency fund. , Kindred Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and others are among the other investors. While at a16z, Haun spearheaded OpenSea's Series B, earning him a seat on the board.

"In our original manifesto, we set out to collectively shatter the idea that They Thought They Could Own Us. Since then, each member of our community has been working to dismantle the gates that have historically held back our creative independence. Today, we are excited to introduce our latest venture contributor supporting these efforts," said Zora co-founder Jacob Horne.

About the Company

Zora was founded in 2020 by three Coinbase veterans as a business that allowed musicians and other artists to sell digital tokens attached to real artifacts such as cassettes. Since then, the company's attention has switched to creating an open-source protocol that allows anyone to construct an NFT marketplace.

Zora now compares itself to Shopify or WordPress, which provides simple tools for creating online stores and websites for non-traditional retailers and the growing Web 3 economy.

The NFT music service Catalog is among many who use Zora's protocol. Zora's tools have also been used to power a number of high-profile NFT drops, including a $4 million Doge NFT sale and another for the Warhol Foundation.NFT purchasers can also acquire carbon offsets through Zora to reduce their environmental effects.

According to Zora co-founder Jacob Horne, the company's mission has always been the same. Its goal is to give artists new avenues to sell their work online without having to rely on centralized Web 2 gatekeepers like Spotify or Amazon, who enforce rigorous regulations while taking a large portion of the profits.

The NFT ecosystem is still expanding, but the vast bulk of traffic still passes through the tightly controlled corridors of the NFT marketplace OpenSea, leaving crypto VCs hunting for fresh prospects. Horne believes that there will be a greater desire for specialized verticals where creators and their followers may interact in the future.

This notion has been popular among Web3 watchers for some time, but it is challenged by OpenSea's continued supremacy, which is by far the largest NFT platform and offers everything under the sun. Even as the number of competitors has increased, OpenSea still controls over 90% of the market.

Zora is unique, according to Horne, since, unlike OpenSea or Coinbase's NFT marketplace, the firm manages NFTs using an open and on-chain protocol rather than a centralized database.

He claims that third-party websites account for more than half of Zora-related NFT transactions. He expects to continue as more artists abandon OpenSea in favor of sites that use Zora's capabilities to create their own marketplaces.

In terms of revenue, Horne says Zora sells development tools to enable organizations to tailor its open protocol for their own needs, similar to how Linux vendor RedHat does it. Meanwhile, the business is developing a DAO that will eventually sell governance tokens to raise funds.

Haun Ventures' Sam Rosenblum stated the company sees Zora as part of the future generation of the web while announcing the investment.

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Peter Daniels
Peter Daniels is the lead journalist for InsiderApps.com

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