25 Growing NFT Startups (2021)

by Josh Howarth - July 29, 2021

The rise of the blockchain has given rise to many exciting new, completely digital projects. Cryptocurrencies are probably the best-known example of blockchain technology. Recently a new trend in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has become popular.

The trend first exploded in popularity when it was revealed that someone paid a whopping $69M to buy an NFT created by the artist Beeple.

The NFT market cap grew a stunning 2,100% during the first half of 2021 when it reached $2.5B in sales volume.

This list presents 25 growing startups that are making an impact on the NFT space.

1. Verisart

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5-year search growth2600%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Long Beach, California

Funding: $2.97M (Seed)

What they doVerisart is a pioneer in utilizing the blockchain as a means of authentication and certification for digital assets. Their award-winning authentication service also makes it possible to quickly create NFTs. According to PitchBook, the company is seeking to close a Series A funding round by 2022.

2. Spores

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5-year search growth39%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Hoan Kiem, Vietnam

Funding: $2.3M (Early Stage VC)

What they doSpores brands itself as a cross-chain, DeFi-powered NFT ecosystem. Their governing and utility token, $SPO, which currently has a market cap of around $3M, gives life to the ecosystem by making it easy to fractionalize, mint, manage and trade NFTs.

3. MomentRanks

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5-year search growth5700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Funding: $1.7M (Seed)

What they doMomentRanks operates an NFT platform that allows users to manage and trade their digital assets. On the surface, this sounds like any other NFT platform. MomentRank’s competitive advantage is that it targets a niche audience by using their ecosystem only for NBA Top Shot non-fungible tokens. Although NBA Top Shot targets a relatively narrow audience, it has accumulated a very impressive market cap of $593M.

4. Nifty’s

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5-year search growth1265%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Miami, Florida

Funding: $10M (Seed)

What they doNifty’s adds a new layer to the digital asset world by combining social media with a two-sided marketplace. This has allowed the startup to develop a platform where creators, collectors and curators open accounts and follow one another. The benefit to the users is two-fold: first, they can create a following and use that to trade their assets. Second, they can use the platform to network with other users with similar interests. Nifty’s already has over 2 million NFTs.

5. Mintable

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5-year search growth4100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Singapore, Singapore

Funding: $13M (Series A)

What they doMintable is an Ethereum-powered marketplace where users can mint and trade their digital tokens. To become a more significant player within this space, the Mark Cuban-backed startup is looking to expand to other blockchains.

6. Rarible

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5-year search growth1900%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Dover, Delaware

Funding: $15.95M (Series A)

What they doRarible provides a marketplace to trade blockchain-secured digital items. What makes this marketplace unique is that it is community-owned, meaning that users have an active voice in deciding the company’s future. This community-owned system is made possible by the startup’s governing token, $RARI. So far, this system has proven quite successful for the company as it has helped them generate over $35M in yearly revenue.

7. Dapper Labs

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5-year search growth1700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: British Columbia, Canada

Funding: $400.3M (Early Stage VC)

What they doDapper Labs uses blockchain to deliver experiences and products to millions of people around the world. The startup brands itself as “THE” NFT company because it has been part of some of the most successful NFT projects, such as NBA Top Shot, CryptoKitties and UFC on Flow. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that, according to PitchBook, Dapper Labs is one of the most heavily-funded companies operating in this sector.

8. Yield Guild

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5-year search growth1400%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2020

Location: Manila, Philippines

Funding: $5.33M (Series A)

What they do: Yield Guild is a decentralized autonomous organization (DEO) whose mission is to develop the largest virtual world economy. It aims to achieve its mission by gathering a community of play-to-earn gamers who play to earn and collect token rewards. Yield Guild’s vision has attracted funds from over 40 investors over 2 funding rounds.

9. Ternoa

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5-year search growth: 5100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2013

Location: Biarritz, France

Funding: Undisclosed (Later Stage VC)

What they do: Ternoa has developed its own blockchain. They plan to use it to build something they call a Time Capsule non-fungible tokens. The idea is that Time Capsules will make it possible for users to encrypt, store and transfer data in a faster and more secure way. According to its roadmap, the startup is looking to start minting its first Time Capsules by August 2021.

10. Own the Moment

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5-year search growth43%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida

Funding: $20K (Accelerator)

What they doOwn the Moment has developed a set of tools that help users make better investments in the NFT space. The apps can gather data on a specific asset and provide analytics, discussions and forecasting to allow the investor to make a better-informed decision. Own the Moment joined the Techstars Sports Accelerator in June 2021.

11. Only1

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5-year search growth100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they doOnly1 is a social platform that uses tokens as a means of engagement and rewards. Creators can use the platform to post their content (which other users then purchase.) This allows creators to monetize their name and their followers. Only1’s smooth transfers are partly due to the fact that their system is built on the Solana blockchain.

12. OneOf

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5-year search growth109%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Los Angeles, California

Funding: $63M (Seed)

What they doOneOf is another startup that has played a considerable role in the segmentation of this industry. The company has built a community of music artists and fans to cooperate. With a $0 minting cost, OneOf offers music artists a way to create their digital assets at low prices and minimal environmental damage.

13. Doingud

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5-year search growth99X+

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Zug, Switzerland

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they doDoingud brands itself as a forward-thinking NFT startup building the next-gen NFT marketplace. Well, if what they promise comes to be accurate, they might earn that reputation. According to Doingud, their platform will support multi-currency transactions with an automated payment system that is entirely transparent.

14. Dotmoovs

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5-year search growth2000%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2020

Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Funding: $840K (Early Stage VC)

What they doDotmoovs has built a system that allows users to compete and win digital rewards. To ensure fairness and remove bias, Dotmoovs has made an AI-powered scoring system that analyses the submitted content and scores them based on a set of predetermined criteria. This project has already attracted global sports superstars, such as Luis Figo and Ricardo Quaresma, who will serve as the startup’s ambassadors.

15. Element Market

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5-year search growth140%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2020

Location: Cayman Islands

Funding: $11.5M (Early Stage VC)

What they doElement Market is a digital asset exchange. What makes the startup special is that it also serves as an aggregator that gathers and provides information on the value transfer of different NFTs.Element Market has held only 1 funding round, which has attracted 3 investors, with one of them being Dragonfly Capital Partners.

16. Bitski

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5-year search growth700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $23.68M (Series A)

What they doBitski is a platform where users can certify and trade assets. The startup brings the idea of the metaverse one step closer to reality as their system allows users to access assets from any device. Bitski’s platform has already been used to create over 300 apps.

17. Charged Particles

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5-year search growth257%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Ontario, Canada

Funding: $1.75M (Seed)

What they doCharged Particles, as their name suggests, is a system that charges NFTs by making it possible for them to contain multiple ERC-20 Tokens. This allows owners to monetize their assets by earning interest in the stored tokens. The startup has already attracted the interest of big crypto players such as CoinGecko and Moonwhale.

18. PolkaWar

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5-year search growth99X+

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2013

Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Funding: $238M (Series B)

What they doMercado Bitcoin allows investors to trade multi-category crypto-assets by providing a comprehensive exchange platform. The venture reduces market confusion by listing only assets with real value and scalable prospects. Mercado Bitcoin got a surge of media attention when they announced $200M in funding from SoftBank Group.

19. Glozal

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5-year search growth3400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Singapore, Singapore

Funding: $400K (Early Stage VC

What they doPolkaWar is a gaming ecosystem where users can earn NFTs. The earned assets can then be traded within the same ecosystem. The startup has an estimated yearly revenue of $600K.

20. Polkally

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5-year search growth6100%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Vietnam

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they doPolkally is a DAO that has developed a peer-to-peer marketplace for online assets. An essential feature that differentiates Polkally from its competitors is that it uses a decentralized KYC to verify artists and creators, ensuring total authenticity. The startup is set to release to the general public in the fourth quarter of 2021.

21. CryptoSlam

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5-year search growth4500%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2018

Location: Austin, Texas

Funding: Undisclosed (Early Stage VC)

What they doCryptoSlam is an aggregating platform that gathers sales volume data of NFTs and displays them in a centralized list. So far, the startup aggregates data on 118 tokens.

22. ConsenSys

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5-year search growth125%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: New York, New York

Funding: $83M (Later Stage VC)

What they doConsenSys is a software engineering company specializing in building blockchain-powered infrastructures. The company has worked in multiple NFT projects, where they have built token launches and complete marketplaces—and everything in between. The startup’s success has attracted funding from global powerhouses such as MasterCard, JPMorgan Chase and UBS, to name a few.

23. Legends of Crypto

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5-year search growth: 6000%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Funding: $1.2M (Early Stage VC)

What they doLegends of Crypto is a token-powered card game where players can win different collectibles. These items can then be traded for cryptocurrency. The startup is currently pre-revenue and is testing its beta with a private number of users.

24. Polkamon

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5-year search growth250%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2021

Location: Hamburg, Germany

Funding: $740K (Early Stage VC)

What they doPolkamon mints their own animated digital collectibles and sells them through their marketplace. What makes Polkamon unique is that its collectibles can easily be integrated with other blockchain projects. The Moonrock Capital-backed startup’s vision is to be a significant player in metaverse projects.

25. Vulcan Forged

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5-year search growth2700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2020

Location: Athens, Greece

Funding: $100K (Accelerator)

What they doVulcan Forged is another gaming platform that lets players earn digital assets. Instead of focusing on building only one game, the startup has 9 games with different themes. This system has been working quite well as it has allowed Vulcan Forged to amass over 12,000 users and see a trading volume larger than $6M.

Conclusion

This concludes our list of fast-growing startups utilizing blockchain technology to make access and usage of NFTs easier and more mainstream.

As can be seen from our list, startups competing in this sector are building the infrastructure, marketplaces, protocols and applications that are set to make NFTs a part of the future.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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