NFT startup Dapper Labs acquires virtual influencer startup Brud

Dapper Labs, the NFT startup behind NBA Top Shot, which was recently valued above $7.5 billion, made an interesting acquisition this morning, telling Decrypt that they have purchased virtual influencer startup Brud and will be bringing the entire 32-person team aboard.

Brud is best known for its digitally rendered social media influencer characters, specifically one named Lil Miquela. The startup spawned several other players in the space when it caught investor attention back in 2018 but the virtual influencer space hasn’t seen any explosions in interest and has stayed a pretty niche space over the years. The company’s cache of characters have lived fictionalized lives on Instagram, racking up followers as the startup earned a $125 million valuation. Dapper didn’t disclose what it paid for Brud.

The most pertinent question here is what does an NFT startup like Dapper want with Lil Miquela (now, just Miquela)?

Well, it seem that the short of it is — not that much? Brud’s founder Trevor McFedries has been getting deeper into the crypto world and moving his startup’s focus toward collective decision-making through decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), which is where Dapper’s central interest seems to lie. McFedries is already the co-founder of one of the more popular DAOs called “Friends With Benefits.” DAOs can help users team up to make investment decisions as a collective and they’ve grown more popular in the past year as developers in the crypto space have started crafting bolder projects in the space.

While McFedries says the company will continue to develop Miquela, he will now lead a division inside Dapper Labs called Dapper Collectives focused on making DAOs more user-friendly and accessible to a new generation of crypto web users while leveraging the company’s Flow blockchain.