Mumbai-based Faze Technologies, which allows fans to collect, use, play and interact with cricket through NFTs, has raised a seed round of $17.4 Mn. Led by Tiger Global, the round also saw participation from Coatue Management, Sequoia Capital India, Dapper Labs, Samsung Next and Courtside Ventures.
Founded by Anshum Bhambri, Sundar Raman (the founding COO of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and former CEO of Reliance Sports), and Kushagra Kohli, the startup plans to use the funds to build an NFT Marketplace, acquire a user base, hire talent across functions. It will further launch its tokens on Flow blockchain, in partnership with Dapper Labs.
Faze claims to be building a metaverse for the cricket fandom. It also recently partnered with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to create exclusive digital collectibles of the great moments from the cricket world.
For the uninitiated, an NFT is a digital asset representing real-world objects or parts of objects such as art, music, in-game items and videos. These can be bought and sold online, just like any other item, and most NFT marketplaces are built around cryptocurrency and tokens, and a blockchain network (usually Ethereum).
Apart from trading in NFTs, the Faze App will allow users access to current content and an archive of historical moments, be a part of the in-match action, play immersive gaming, connect with cricket celebrities one-on-one, among other features.
The product is still under development, and the startup plans to offer a pack drop pre-launch. A pack drop is a random allocation of “rare” NFTs, whose contents are unknown to a buyer. Faze will offer six tiers of rarity in NFTs — Common, Rare, Epic, Legendary, Platinum, and Genesis.
It will further allow NFT purchases to be made directly via a mobile wallet or a credit or debit card without the need for a crypto wallet.
Bollywood celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Sunny Leone, Salman Khan, Suniel Shetty, Kunal Kapoor, and former Indian cricketers VVS Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Veda Krishnamurthy have joined the NFT bandwagon. Thus, the NFT momentum has suddenly caught the attention of the common man on the street in the country.
In the cricket-centred NFT marketplaces, Faze will compete with CricketCrazy.io offering cricketer-owned game moments from across history. Meanwhile, American fantasy sports and betting company DraftKings has formed a strategic agreement with Polygon to accelerate NFT adoption and Web3 through DraftKings Marketplace.