Candy Digital, the next generation digital collectible (NFT) company, announced today that it completed a $100 million Series A financing round, which values the company at $1.5bn. The newly raised capital will be used to fund Candy’s continued expansion of its NFT offerings across the global sports landscape for both current and emerging partners. The funding round was co-led by leading global private equity and venture capital firms Insight Partners and Softbank Vision Fund 2. Additional participants in the round include Connect Ventures, an investment partnership between leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Will Ventures, Gaingels, Com2Us, Athletes Syndicate in partnership with Chaos Ventures, which includes participation from current and retired MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL players, and NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. Candy Digital announced its launch earlier this year with Founding Board members: Michael Rubin, CEO, Fanatics; Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO, Galaxy Digital; and Gary Vaynerchuk, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor.
Candy Digital is building Major League Baseball’s official NFT ecosystem where fans and collectors will be able to purchase, trade, and share officially licensed NFTs to deepen their love of the sport. Candy Digital plans to use the new funds to integrate new sports relationships and accelerate the growth of its global team and capabilities across its creative content studio, user experience team, and marketplace platform where fans can buy, trade, sell and store their NFTs. Funds will also be used to scale the company’s recruiting, marketing, customer success and engineering groups as the company expands its tech-centric offering to enhance the overall fan experience. The company’s current partners include Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), the Race Team Alliance (RTA) and several notable college athletes.
“Candy is focused on being the trusted, institutional-grade provider of authentic licensed products in the NFT space, and we are excited to continue to grow our business and develop unique digital assets which bring fans and collectors closer to the sports and players they love,” said Scott Lawin, CEO of Candy Digital. “Blockchain and NFTs provide tremendous opportunities to enhance the fan experience by allowing people to own a piece of their passion. We’re thrilled to continue partnering with the leading sports leagues around the world to engage fans through the next generation of sports collectibles as we create the future of fandom together.”
“Fans crave new methods of engaging with their favorite athletes and teams, and Candy Digital is primed to power the next generation of sports fandom,” said Deven Parekh, Managing Director at Insight Partners. “The company is led by an experienced founding team across the sports and entertainment industries and has won early partnerships such as with MLB. We're excited to partner with Candy Digital as they build fan engagement experiences for the digital age."
“By combining Fanatics’ proven track record with blockchain and NFT expertise, we believe Candy Digital is creating a leading platform that offers consumers the opportunity to own a unique digital asset,” said Lydia Jett, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “The company’s partnership with MLB and MLBPA is a strong indication that fans and collectors want to engage with their favorite sports, music, and art in new ways. We are delighted to partner with Scott and the team to support their ambition to become the leading digital collectible NFT platform.”
This month, Candy Digital is unveiling its ‘Beta’ platform giving fans and consumers their first opportunity to directly buy, sell and trade Candy’s NFT products. The launch coincides with the unveiling of three new, unique products for the upcoming MLB playoffs and World Series. Since launch, Candy Digital has released several products in partnership with MLB and a roster of college athletes. The first-ever MLB World Series NFT was released to celebrate the LA Dodgers’ 2020 World Series victory, and the company also designed a series of Lou Gehrig NFTs to commemorate the league’s first official Lou Gehrig Day. The company continues to unveil products from its “Sweet Futures” college NFT line, which includes Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Georgia’s JT Daniels, and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder.
The investment round and vision to continue innovating the fan experience comes at a time when Fanatics, the majority owner of Candy Digital, is building a global digital sports platform complete with everything sports fans want. The company recently announced plans to expand beyond merchandise and unlock new verticals across the sports ecosystem, including NFTs through Candy Digital, trading cards, online betting, iGaming and more.
About Candy Digital
Candy Digital is a next generation digital collectible company, which has been launched by three titans of their respective industries: Michael Rubin, CEO, Fanatics; Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO, Galaxy Digital; and Gary Vaynerchuk, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor.
Candy is building Major League Baseball’s official NFT ecosystem where fans and collectors will be able to purchase, trade, and share officially licensed NFTs to deepen their love of the sport. Candy’s team of world-class digital artists, designers, and technologists are developing a broad range of digital collectibles, beginning with sports content and expanding into art, entertainment, music, and more. For more, visit candy.com.
About Insight Partners
Insight Partners is a leading global venture capital and private equity firm investing in high-growth technology and software ScaleUp companies that are driving transformative change in their industries. Founded in 1995, Insight Partners has invested in more than 400 companies worldwide and has raised through a series of funds more than $30 billion in capital commitments. Insight's mission is to find, fund, and work successfully with visionary executives, providing them with practical, hands-on software expertise to foster long-term success. Across its people and its portfolio, Insight encourages a culture around a belief that ScaleUp companies and growth create opportunity for all. For more information on Insight and all its investments, visit insightpartners.com or follow us on Twitter @insightpartners.
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