Eminem, Sony Music Invest in NFT Marketplace Startup MakersPlace as Part of $30 Million Funding Round

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The gold rush surrounding non-fungible token (NFT) digital collectibles continues: MakersPlace, a marketplace for buying and selling digital artwork and other creations, has raised $30 million in funding from investors including rapper Eminem and Sony Music Entertainment.

San Francisco-based MakersPlace, which launched in 2018, announced that it raised $30 million. The funding was led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Pantera Captial, with participation from Uncork Capital, Draper Dragon Digital Assets, 9Yards Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Sony Music Entertainment.

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The round also included strategic investors Eminem, Paul Rosenberg, 3LAU in music: Acquavella Galleries, Sabrina Hahn and Bill Ruprecht in the arts; Larry Fitzgerald and Shari Glazer in sports; and Eric Baker, Julia and Kevin Hartz, Vinny Lingham and Tobias Lütke in tech.

NFTs use blockchain technology to certify ownership of a digital asset (“non-fungible” means an NFT can’t be exchanged for something of equal value). The concept has swept like wildfire across art, music and entertainment worlds, as NFTs provide a mechanism for establishing ownership of digital content.

In 2021, MakersPlace says, the number of collectors using its platform grew more than 10-fold and the company facilitated over $100 million in transactions. The company’s biggest NFT event was artist Beeple’s $69.3 million sale of digital artwork “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” through auction house Christie’s.

MakersPlace had previously raised $2 million in seed funding. The company was founded by CEO Dannie Chu, formerly head of growth engineering at Pinterest; CTO Yash Nelapati, also an ex-Pinterest engineer; and head of marketing Ryoma Ito, previously with VC-backed ecommerce startups Mertado and SpecialDeals.

“We see this fundraise as continued validation for our mission,” Chu said in announcing the funding round. “We will continue to push boundaries and empower digital creators with better tools and services, while finding more ways to introduce digital art and NFTs to a mainstream collector audience.”

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