BENGALURU: Faze Technologies, a startup that builds fun consumer experiences on top of public blockchains, on Wednesday said it has raised $17.4m in a seed funding round led by Tiger Global Management. Coatue Ventures and Sequoia Capital India also participated, along with Dapper Labs, Samsung Next, Courtside Ventures, and Vivek Ranadive.
Mumbai-based Faze said it has partnered with International Cricket Council (ICC) to create exclusive digital collectibles (using NFTs) for cricket to launch on the Flow blockchain.
The startup was founded in 2021 by Anshum Bhambri, Sundar Raman, the founding COO of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and former CEO of Reliance Sports, and serial entrepreneur Kushagra Kohli.
“Our mission is to build the metaverse for cricket. We are in a unique position to combine NFTs, gaming, financial utilities, and money-can’t-buy experiences to create a platform for fans to collect, use, play, and interact with cricket through NFTs on Flow. Every NFT purchase can be made directly within seconds via a mobile wallet, or a credit or debit card without the need for a crypto wallet, to ensure that every transaction is as easy as possible”, said Anshum Bhambri, CEO of Faze Technologies.
With access to both current content and an archive of historical moments, the new experience will help consumers to deep dive into the greatest moments from ICC events. The product will also give them a way to be a part of the in-match action. Through fan activations developed around marquee matches, cricket lovers will be able to enter contests to be in with a chance of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Faze said its goal is to help create a direct connection between the creator and the consumer built on three tenets – true ownership and the ability to showcase the NFTs on social media, pack buying and the peer-to-peer trading experience, and finally, a play-to-earn universe where the core mechanics and economy are built around owning, crafting, and battling of NFTs.
“We’re excited to support Faze and its vision of athletes as artists who create collectable moments through memorable plays on the field. With its talented management team and strong partnerships, Faze will accelerate the democratization of business models emerging in this arena,” said Unaiz Kabani, partner at Tiger Global.
Faze has also entered into a strategic partnership with Dapper Labs which is building similar experiences for leading sports leagues and federations in the world.
“We’re excited to be partnering with Faze to launch the ultimate cricket fan experience with the ICC on Flow,” said Roham Gharegozlou, CEO, Dapper Labs. “With over one billion cricket fans across ICC’s 105 member nations, Faze is revolutionizing how cricket fans everywhere connect and engage with some of the greatest moments in cricket history. From NBA and WNBA to La Liga, NFL and UFC, we’re seeing sports fans across the globe adopt new dynamic fan-driven experiences on Flow, and I’m eager to see how cricket fans engage with NFTs.”
“We’ve seen first-hand from our experience partnering with Dapper Labs the power of blockchain-enabled gaming, sports and collectibles. Faze is bringing this model to cricket fans all over the world and validating the power of Flow as a platform,” Dan Rose, chairman, Coatue Ventures said.
Shailesh Lakhani, MD, Sequoia India, said, “We believe that blockchains and user-centric design can come together to make for never-before-seen social experiences for digitally-native consumers. The team at Faze is creating Web 3.0 products that are fun, a little bit crazy, and very compelling. They are as simple to onboard and use as traditional Web 2.0 apps, which will enable mass appeal.”