The Future of [X] is Decentralized

Dapper Labs acquires Sequoia-backed Brud, forms Dapper Collectives with Trevor McFedries as CEO to bring decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) to Flow Blockchain

Roham Gharegozlou
Dapper Labs


Miquela on Instagram

Brud is creating community-owned media and collectively-built worlds

We’ve had a busy few weeks at Dapper Labs: raising $250M additional capital from the world’s top investors; announcing incredible new partnerships with the NFL and La Liga; welcoming Dwyane Wade and celebrating #HBDTopShot by trending all day on Twitter.

Today I’m proud and grateful to announce the most important move yet: the amazing Brud team, creators of Lil Miquela and expert community builders, are joining Dapper Labs in our first acquisition of a venture-backed company. The Brud team will help launch and scale a new business unit –– Dapper Collectives –– with the mission of bringing decentralized organizations (“DAOs”) to the mainstream.

We’ve been following Trevor, Nicole de Ayora (CPO), and Kara Weber (COO)’s work on virtual influencers and the Metaverse since before CryptoKitties –– it’s an honor to work together today. We’ve also been impressed with Trevor’s work more generally in the decentralized ecosystem, including cofounding the $FWB DAO on Ethereum.

From its inception in 2016 until now, Brud has raised over $27 million in venture capital, principally from Sequoia and Spark Capital. As part of this transaction, these equity holders in Brud will also receive Dapper Labs equity as well as FLOW tokens in certain cases — welcome aboard!

By joining forces and creating Dapper Collectives, we will:

  • Bring community ownership and collective building to Dapper Labs products –– starting with Lil Miquela and her 10 million fans;
  • Build and release open source tools to help other mainstream communities engage in decentralized ownership and governance on Flow blockchain;
  • Help the most forward-thinking “web 2” companies decentralize their operations, engaging at the CEO and Board of Directors level to assist in tokenomics as well as technical implementation.

“We’ve been on a journey to create a completely new way of telling stories, together. Our mission is to change the world through community-owned storytelling. Joining Dapper Labs today allows us to accelerate and expand that mission on the fast-growing Flow blockchain, now home to even more of the world’s most compelling IP. With profound gratitude for our Board, amazing partners, best-in-class investors and longtime supporters, I can’t wait for the adventure ahead with the most amazing team in the world.”
– Trevor McFedries, CEO

We’re Hiring!

Flow, the blockchain that powers NBA Top Shot, was built for mainstream applications of all kinds, of which NFT marketplaces are one subset.

We believe decentralized organizations will underpin the next wave of blockchain-enabled consumer applications because they enable a feature that has never existed before: shared governance of digital systems — whether of virtual storylines, ecosystem fund treasuries, NFT economies, or full-scale blockchain games.

From the very first day of Dapper Labs, our DNA has been as a multi-product company: we built NBA Top Shot as part of our studio, the underlying Flow blockchain, and the Dapper wallet payment systems all at the same time. That’s because we have a structure of interdisciplinary teams empowered to own their missions.

Dapper Collectives is a new business unit empowered to further the Brud mission of creating community-owned media and collectively-built worlds.

The team will have creative independence to do what they do best –– while being able to rely on the infrastructure and expertise of the Dapper Labs mother organization. In particular: a Fortune 500-caliber executive suite across legal as well as compliance, growth, infrastructure, and security –– not to mention 1.2 million Dapper Wallet users.

If all this sounds as exciting to you as it does to us, get in touch and let’s work together!

Historical Context

Blockchain technology isn’t just a more efficient way to settle securities — it will fundamentally change market structures — and maybe even the architecture of the internet itself.
— Abigail Johnson, CEO of Fidelity Investments

On the 23rd of May 2017 when Abigail Johnson was first quoted saying this, blockchains were principally thought as digital ledgers built to secure cryptocurrencies.

At around the same time, our team, led by current Dapper Labs CTO Dieter Shirley, realized that the same technology used to secure cryptocurrencies (“fungible tokens”) could be used to secure digital assets that are individually unique (“non-fungible tokens”, or NFTs). On September 20 2017, we submitted the first draft of the NFT standard to Ethereum. Two months later, on November 28, we shipped CryptoKitties.

Today, nearly four years after the initial launch of CryptoKitties, not only are cryptocurrencies much more accepted by the mainstream–– and a $2T+ asset class ––– “NFT” actually out-ranks “cryptocurrency” on Google Trends, with all the world’s top brands working through how to engage.

Even today, we are only scratching the surface of how blockchain will “change the architecture of the internet itself”. This is because blockchains are a new kind of computer, one that we’re still learning what kinds of apps we can build on top:

Dapper Labs CTO (and Flow blockchain’s original architect) Dieter Shirley

I like adding “public computer” to Dieter’s definition above –– as distinguished from the private servers operated by today’s large internet infrastructure companies. By the way: designed the right way, private companies like Google can join public networks like Flow without compromising decentralization.

Regardless of blockchain, most cryptocurrencies and NFTs built so far are about ownership and value transfer. Many projects take things one step further and use their tokens for access or status within the community, but we’re only starting to scratch the surface of the next step-function benefit blockchain can provide mainstream consumers –– governance.

From the A16Z Crypto Canon:

Crypto protocols are meant to be governed by decentralized communities of stakeholders. Not because it’s more efficient, or important for ideological reasons, but because it’s necessary to unlock their core value proposition: that the underlying protocols will continue to run as designed, and will remain open to anyone who wants to use or build on them, without having the rules shift under their feet.
– Jeff Amico

For more:

Brud team on Zoom! Going to be about 10x bigger All Hands next time =)



Roham Gharegozlou
Dapper Labs

Founder @AxiomZenTeam, CryptoKitties, and Dapper Labs. Former VC. Relentless optimist.