Did you know that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady co-founded an NFT agency? Well he did! It's called Autograph, and you won't be surprised to find out that it's doing pretty well.
The company told TechCrunch on Wednesday that it had just completed its Series B funding round and had raised $170 million from venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins, among several others. Both firms have been investing in cryptocurrency related projects and Autograph is the latest one.
So what exactly is Autograph? TechCrunch described it as "an agency go-between for celebrity athletes and entertainers looking to find a personal presence in the incredibly noisy NFT world." Some celebrities and athletes have gotten blowback from fans and the public at large over their involvement in cryptocurrency or NFTs, and TechCrunch believes Autograph's goal is to help those people get involved in NFTs in a more "curated" way.
Autograph has an impressive roster of athlete partners. Beyond Brady, they've also partnered with Tiger Woods, Simone Biles, Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka, Usain Bolt, Wayne Gretzky and Tony Hawk. Brady, the co-founder of Autograph, is on the board of the company, as is Abel Tesfaye, who is more commonly known as The Weeknd.
While Autograph told TechCrunch that it started a partnership with DraftKings over the summer, they are mainly focused on athletes as individuals. Looking at their list of athlete partners, only a few of them play a team sport, and every single one of them has gone beyond their sport and moved into the larger cultural consciousness. Working with athletes who don't just exist in the sports space and who have a broad base of appeal appears to be their strategy.