Basketball GOAT Michael Jordan and his son, Jeffrey Jordan, have raised $10 million and they plan a 2022 launch of HEIR, a Web3 fan engagement platform built on the Solana blockchain that hopes to capitalize on the market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The Jordans introduced HEIR Inc. on Dec. 14 — a holding company that they say plans to foster brands committed to compelling narratives and a sincere, grounded sense of community while harnessing emerging technologies that allow them to connect with consumers in creative ways.
HEIR will feature an HEIR token minted on the Solana blockchain and will showcase NFT assets and community-building features. Fans and athletes will be able to connect through Huddles, an exclusive experience powered by blockchain technology, according to the HEIR website. Fans will have access to member-only videos and first-person NFT drops, which are sold by the athletes on the HEIR app.
“This will be done through a limited number of membership-based seats fans will buy on the app,” analyst Akhil Khatri wrote for Sportskeeda. “Ventures like these have been around in the European football (soccer) world, and it’s about time someone in the NBA recognized its scope.”
HEIR is backed by New York-based Thrive Capital, which invested in Robinhood, Instagram, Stripe, Slack, and other industry leaders in sports, tech and entertainment. Thrive led the $10 million round with participation from Solana Ventures, Reddit co-founder and Seven Seven Six founder Alexis Ohanian, Bulls player Lonzo Ball, and New York Knicks Executive Vice President William Wesley, Decrypt reported. Michael Jordan is also reported to be one of the investors.
Other fan engagement platforms are already operating on the blockchain including Rally and Roll, which lets athletes, artists, entertainers, and influencers mint their own crypto tokens. Fans can buy tokens to support their favorites.
College athletes Kayvon Thibodeaux and Jaylen Clark launched their own creator tokens on Rally and NBA player Spencer Dinwiddie, who once tokenized his league contract to sell it to supporters, raised $7.5 million in July to launch his own social token and engagement app, Calaxy (short for “creator galaxy”).
“With new frontiers in web3, the HEIR platform will deliver economic value to original culture creators and those who consume it early with new decentralized capabilities that drive ownership. We believe in the power of ownership and legacy for all,” HEIR said on its website. Web3, hyped as the next big thing that will replace the internet, is being built on blockchain technology.
This isn’t the first crypto venture for Michael Jordan, who majority-owns the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise. He participated in a $305 million funding round Dapper Labs, the startup behind the virtual trading-card platform NBA Top Shot.
Currently in invite-only mode, the HEIR site is signing up athletes as it builds out the product, Business Insider reported.
Michael Jordan is a strategic adviser and partner in the HEIR platform, his son, Jeffrey, told Variety. “We meet with him regularly, and he provides guidance and insightful ideas… When he was playing, he didn’t have the same tools to connect with his fanbase or monetize that,” Jeffrey said.
HEIR co-founders include Jeffrey Jordan; Daniel George, founder of agency Limitless Creative; and Jeron Smith, the co-founder and CEO of Stephen Curry’s unanimous media, Sportskeeda reported.
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