Sports NFT startup Recur has raised $50 million in Series A venture capital funding, led by Digital, an investment fund backed by Mets owner Steve Cohen.
Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire, joins the board of the non-fungible token business. The investment values Recur at $333 million, which the company believes is the largest Series A deal in the NFT space.
“For us it was extremely important to find a partner who deeply understands the future of where the metaverse is headed and the importance of community. Steve Cohen, and the entire team at Digital, is that right partner,” Recur co-founders and co-CEOs Zach Bruch and Trevor George wrote in an email. “It is incredible how much insight and thoughtfulness they have around this nascent space.” With financial backing from Cohen’s family office, Digital is run by Mark Daniel and Benjamin Milstein, as an investment platform for the metaverse (think Web 3.0).
Prior to the Series A, Recur attracted investment from Joe Lubin, a cryptocurrency pioneer; Courtside VC, which also has investments in The Athletic and Vy esports; digital media entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk; and the Winklevoss twins, of Facebook fame, among others.
At the same time, Recur has announced it is the exclusive partner for Pac-12 video content for historic highlights and plays for football, basketball and the Olympic sports, according to the co-founders. “You can expect the first NFTs to launch at the beginning of 2022. Each week starting next week, RECUR will be announcing new collegiate partnerships as well as collaborations with current and past student athletes and their name, image [and] likeness (NIL),” Bruch and George wrote to Sportico.
Recur has partnered with Veritone to license Pac-12 highlights and to secure NIL authorization from athletes. In a separate partnership, Recur also will license college and mascot rights from CLC, a division of Learfield IMG College. The NFTs will be sold through Recur’s NFTU.com website, the sole marketplace for the conference’s NFTs, according to Recur.
“If NBA Top Shots can do nearly $1B in revenue this year alone with the NBA, imagine what could be done with video highlights in college,” wrote the Recur co-founders. “Yes, there is fandom in the NBA, but the emotion, tradition, culture and fandom surrounding collegiate sports is on another level.”
(This article has been corrected to give the proper spelling for Zach Bruch’s name.)