Rario, creators of the world’s first cricket NFT platform, has mopped up USD 120 million (about Rs 914 crore) in a Series-A funding round led by Dream Capital, the corporate venture capital arm of Dream Sports, and Alpha Wave Capital.
Rario claims to have the largest share of cricket NFT (non-fungible token) rights globally through exclusive partnerships with six international cricket leagues and a roster of over 900 cricketers.
The funding was led by Dream Capital, the corporate venture and M&A arm of Dream Sports and participation from Alpha Wave Global.
The startup also counts Animoca Brands, Presight Capital, and Kingsway Capital among its investors.
This marks the first bet by the Dream11 parent in the Web3 space and its most significant investment so far.
Dream Sports CEO Harsh Jain had said at an industry event in January 2022 that they were exploring a foray into the nascent blockchain and NFT market.
At the event, Jain had said the entire sports world is now awakening to this opportunity for sports leagues, teams, and players to monetise a virtual asset that “they never even knew they own”.
With Dream Capital’s investment, Rario now gets access to Dream Sports’ 140 million users, who will be offered FIAT-only products, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The statement added that Alpha Wave Global, previously Falcon Edge Capital, also participated in the round and now joins existing investors Animoca Brands, a global leader in web3 gaming, Presight Capital, and Kingsway Capital.
Founded in 2021 by IIT Delhi alumni Ankit Wadhwa and Sunny Bhanot, Rario recently signed one of the world’s most enormous cricket NFT deals in a multi-year exclusive partnership with Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association to create an Australian cricket metaverse of collectables and gaming.
Rario enables fans to engage as a community, giving them a chance to own a piece of cricket history through digital collectables across player cards, video moments and cricket artefacts.
Through Rario, sports fans can buy, sell, and trade NFTs through FIAT-only mediums – credit cards, debit cards, and bank transfers. Rario has sold over 50,000 NFTs to sports fans across 20 countries, with the US, Britain, Australia and India as its top four markets.
“Cricket is the 2nd largest sport in the world with more than 1.5 billion fans globally. NFTs are creating new forms of engagement allowing fans to own and trade digital collectibles. Rario’s global cricket NFT ecosystem will be further strengthened by the 140 million sports fans on Dream Sports,” said Ankit Wadhwa, co-founder and CEO – Rario.