Sammy Baker

Ayoken Achieves $1.4 Million in Pre-seed Funding for its NFT Marketplace

May 30, 2022

Ayoken, a new NFT marketplace for creatives, recently raised $1.4 million in pre-seed funding for its NFT marketplace.

The fund would be used to grow their revenue streams through digital collectibles.

It has also been announced that the startup’s marketplace, Ayokenlabs, will be used to feature digital collectibles from musicians, sports brands, and social influencers from across the globe.

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

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 get other perks, like access to unreleased music and exclusive live events by the creatives.

“Through VIP passes, fans will get the ability to live stream music by these artists before it arrives on Spotify, YouTube, or Apple Music. Fans will get discounts for future events too,” said King, who has 14 years of experience in strategy, growth and innovation consultancy, and entrepreneurship.

His career includes helping scale AZA (Bitpesa), a Nairobi-based platform that leverages bitcoin to facilitate cross-border remittances, and where he was first introduced to crypto and blockchain technology.

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King said Ayoken will, over the next few months, release NFTs of some major African artists and others across the world.

Ayokenlabs has also decided to work with Ghanaian afrobeat artist KiDi for his first NFT drop on the first day of June.

King said the cross-chain marketplace (although currently built on Avalanche blockchain) allows crypto and card payments but plans to add mobile money – as the startup makes it easier for people in emerging markets like Africa to trade with ease.

King said they are negotiating partnerships with several telcos on the continent to make this a reality.

“We are reducing friction points for users by letting people use their cards instead of having to use crypto to buy. We are working on partnerships with telcos that will allow people to use mobile money to make payments in the future too. Nothing comes close to what we are doing and that is why we can sign some of the biggest names in the creative industry,” he said.

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

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

“What this means is that celebrities do not have to rely on their social media following to drive transactions. They get instant access to millions of people all around the world at the touch of a button. And our approach is so different to any other NFC marketplace on the planet. we also have a marketing agency to help these creatives succeed in their first NFT drops,” said King.

They (distribution partners) will get a revenue share based on any transactions generated on their social media promotions.

Using the funds raised from the investors, among them Founders Factory Africa, Texas-based Kon Ventures, Europe-based venture capital collective Crypto League, Ghana-based R9C Ventures, and Maximus Ventures, Ayoken is looking to sign several exclusive deals with artists and partnerships with telcos, besides growing its team and secondary marketplaces.

“A majority of the funding will go into buying exclusive licenses and into building our tech team, that is the developers and engineers by fourfold,” he said.