Ayoken raises $1.4 million to grow its NFT marketplace for creatives – TechCrunch

Ayoken, an NFT marketplace for creatives, has raised $1.4 million in pre-seed funding to enable users to increase their revenue streams through digital collectibles.

The startup marketplace, Ayokenlabs, will showcase digital collectibles from musicians, sports brands and influencers around the world.

Ayoken founder and CEO Joshua King told TechCrunch that the marketplace is a bridge between fans and artists, and gives supporters a sense of ownership of their idols’ success.

Through the NFT marketplace, he said, fans will have access to tokens such as behind-the-scenes videos and album art. NFT holders will also enjoy other benefits such as access to unreleased music and exclusive live events by the creatives.

“Through VIP passes, fans will have the opportunity to stream music from these artists live before it hits Spotify, YouTube or Apple Music. Fans will also receive discounts for future events,” King said. , who has 14 years of experience in strategy, growth and innovation, and entrepreneurship consulting.His career includes helping to scale AZA (Bitpesa), a Nairobi-based platform that operates bitcoin to facilitate cross-border remittances, and where he was first introduced to crypto and blockchain technology.

King said that Ayoken will be releasing NFTs of some top African artists and others around the world over the next few months.

The London-based startup has already teamed up with Ghanaian afrobeats artist KiDi (Dennis Nana Dwamena) for their first NFT release on the first day of June. King said the cross-chain marketplace (though currently built on the Avalanche blockchain) allows crypto and card payments, but plans to add mobile money — as the startup allows people in emerging markets like Africa to trade easily. King said they were negotiating partnerships with a number of phone companies on the mainland to make this a reality.

“We are reducing friction points for users by allowing people to use their cards instead of having to use crypto to purchase, we are working on partnerships with telecom operators that will allow people to use the mobile money to make payment in future also. Nothing comes close to what we do and that’s why we’re able to sign some of the biggest names in the creative industry,” he said.

Users will receive token rewards (Ayo) when they purchase the NFTs or refer people, which they can redeem later for an NFT.

King said that unlike other NFT marketplaces, they have distribution partners including YouTubers, influencers, newsletters, crypto exchanges and telecoms to promote NFT drops – allowing creatives to tap into a larger audience. , and not just their fan base.

“It means celebrities don’t have to rely on their social networks to generate transactions. They get instant access to millions of people around the world at the push of a button. And our approach is so different from any another NFC marketplace on the planet. We also have a marketing agency to help these creatives succeed with their first NFT launches,” King said.

“They (distribution partners) will receive a revenue share based on all transactions generated on their social media promotions.”

Using funds raised from investors including Founders Factory Africa, Texas-based Kon Ventures, Europe-based venture capital collective Crypto League, Ghana-based R9C Ventures and Maximus Ventures, Ayoken plans to sign a number of exclusive agreements with artists and partnerships with telecommunications operators, in addition to developing its team and its secondary marketplaces.

“The majority of the funding will go towards purchasing exclusive licenses and building our technical team, i.e. developers and engineers in fours,” he said.

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