- Arena Club has raised US$20m to date
- Startup hopes marketplace and collection features will help it stand out
Baseball legend Derek Jeter’s online trading card marketplace Arena Club has raised US$10 million in fresh funding to continue its expansion.
The round was led by venture capital firm M13, with participation from Defy.vc, Elysian Park Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures and Bam Ventures. Arena Club has now raised around US$20 million in total.
Founded by Jeter, Brian Lee and Jesse Glass, Arena Club offers machine learning-powered automated grading services, card storage facilities, and the ability to buy and sell collectibles, with transactions recorded on the blockchain.
A mobile app allows users to show off their physical collection in a digital format, while it is also possible to trade cards without any money changing hands.
By offering a wide range of services, Arena Club hopes to attract more users and more cards into its ecosystem. The company says the funding will be used to expand its platform and build out its feature set.
As an analogue form of entertainment, the trading card and sports collectible space is undergoing a digital transformation. A booming market is being driven by demand for alternatives to traditional financial investments like stocks and shares.
Rare sports cards are now selling for millions of dollars at auction and are seen as a safer bet at the moment than non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Several other startups are operating in the space, with tech giants making investments and expanding their feature sets to attract more business. Earlier this year, EBay acquired TCGplayer for US$295 million, while Amazon has a stake in fractional ownership platform Dibbs.