Pinata, a nonfungible token content delivery network, said today it has raised $21.5 million in funding to build an ultra-fast, reliable platform for delivering the media represented by NFTs such as images, video and apps.
The total comes from a recently closed $18 million Series A round co-led by Greylock and Pantera and a $3.5 million seed round co-led by Greylock and Offline Ventures. Other investors participating in these rounds included Volt Capital, the NFT marketplace OpenSea and blockchain infrastructure company Alchemy.
Nonfungible tokens are crypto assets built on blockchain technology that represent the ownership of digital media such as art, music, video, memes, video game items and even apps. They can be created, bought and sold, creating large-scale economies. Since they can represent digital media, that media needs to be stored and displayed to users.
Pinata was founded in 2018 by Chief Executive Kyle Tut and Chief Technology Officer Matt Ober with the objective of providing a secure content delivery platform to make sure that when a user asked to see a media file associated with an NFT they would get what they asked for.
Powerful storage networks already exist for NFTs, such as the InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS, but it only provides storage. It is possible that the media files stored in it can be difficult to access because of bandwidth issues, network delays, or other problems. This is where Pinata steps in as a CDN.
“Legacy tools for creators all serve a great purpose for discovery and awareness, but fall short when it comes to building an authentic community and earning direct income,” said Tut. “Creators need storage capabilities and a fast and powerful way to distribute their content across marketplaces, metaverses, social media, and the internet en masse.”
Pinata is able to deliver content quickly to anyone with over 200 servers around the world and it supports any kind of media content including videos, images, music and apps. The platform is designed to scale for entire marketplaces.
Users are also able to create their own custom-branded, private content, which allows them to further monetize their NFTs. For example, using a new feature called “Submarining,” technical and non-technical creators can share unlockable content with their communities to owners of specific NFTs, geo-location, payments or other gateways.
“Pinata empowers creators of all kinds to serve content at scale without any technical experience required,” said Tut.
Today, Pinata now hosts more than 240,000 users, up from 104,000 in January, and users have more than 120 million files pinned. The company said that it has seen more than 42 times revenue growth year-over-year, though it didn’t reveal absolute numbers.
The company now works with major names in the Web3 industry, including OpenSea, DraftKings, Protocol Labs, Autograph and Yuga Labs, the creator of the Bored Ape Yachts Club.
Greylock Partner Mike Duboe said Pinata’s “anti-hype” approach kept them on the radar and the mission-critical infrastructure approach is what led interest for a second round in the company.
“While today’s NFT activity is focused around static .jpeg files, we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg for this technology and that the most interesting applications around NFTs involve richer media,” said Duboe. “Pinata is the most full-featured offering to help creators and marketplaces program more advanced functionality into this media.”
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