Inspired by the popularity of CryptoKitties, a game on the Ethereum blockchain that allows users to play, purchase, collect and sell digital cats, OpenSea founders Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah wanted to build a marketplace where users could create, buy and sell unique digital creations.
Now, four years after its founding, the company has become one of the world’s largest online marketplaces for NFTs and crypto collectibles. OpenSea is backed by notable venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator and Founders Fund and private investors including Mark Cuban, Tim Ferriss and Dylan Field, the CEO & Co-founder of Figma, just to name a few.
Finzer and Atallah are now among the first NFT billionaires in the world – and much of their success can be attributed to patience and being at the right place at the right time.
Back in March 2020, OpenSea only had five employees and was making roughly $28,000 in monthly revenue. Its direct competitor Rare Bits had just gone out of business, and the NFT space wasn’t looking entirely promising.
This all changed in February of 2021, when the NFT market completely blew up and more people became interested in the space. In fact, by the end of the year, NFT sales reached a whopping $41 billion. Since then, OpenSea has scaled its team drastically and now has more than 70 employees. In the past month, the company has made roughly $72.75 million dollars in revenue after seeing a trading volume of $2.91 billion.
The Org takes a look into the background of the leaders who are helping Finzer and Atallah shape the future of the world’s largest NFT marketplace.
Excluding the co-founders, VP of Business Development Ryan Fouty, who joined the company in May 2021, could be considered one of the most senior executives at the company in terms of tenure. Foutty was one of the first 400 employees at ridesharing giant Uber, and most recently served as the VP, Global Head of Business Development at electric scooter and bike-sharing company Lime, where he oversaw payment initiatives.
Ensuring that OpenSea is compliant with government regulations, and minimizing the harm caused by NFT scammers is General Counsel Gina Moon. Moon has a JD from Columbia Law School and worked as an attorney for many years before joining Uber as Senior Counsel, Litigation. She later joined Meta, then known as Facebook, as Associate General Counsel, Product & Privacy before being promoted to Director and Associate General Counsel, Regulatory. Moon became part of the OpenSea team in August 2021.
Growing OpenSea’s presence and recognition is Whitney Steele, the VP of Marketing who joined the company in November 2021. Steele was previously the Head of Marketing and Growth at Thumbtack, a home management company where she worked for five years. The Princeton University graduate has also served as a CRM Manager for design goods marketplace Minted.
Karthik Kongovi oversees all growth opportunities at OpenSea. He joined the company in June 2021, after having been an independent consultant and advisor for various startups, including Citizen, AboutLife and Tapingo. He had previously worked as VP of Operations at AI Enterprise company ASAPP and health and fitness application MyFitnessPal.
Overseeing all money matters at the company is Brian Roberts, who started at OpenSea in December 2021. Roberts was previously the CFO at Lyft, where he served for more than seven years, scaling the business and raising financial capital. In the past, Roberts has also worked as SVP of Business Development and Strategy at Walmart and Corporate Vice President, Corporate Development at Microsoft. He has an MBA from Harvard and a BA in Economics from UC Berkeley.
The latest addition to the OpenSea team is newly appointed CTO Nadav Hollander who announced that he would be joining forces with Finzer and Atallah on Twitter on Tuesday. Hollander is the CEO and Co-Founder of Dharma, a space to borrow and lend cryptocurrencies. He has also worked as a software engineer at digital currency wallet and platform Coinbase. Hollander is a graduate of Stanford University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science.