European web3 firm Tioga Capital led a $5.1 million (€5 million) seed investment in NFT utility platform Tropee.
Crypto founders such as The Sandbox’s Sébastien Borget, Exclusible’s Thibault Launay, Geometry’s Grégoire le Jeune, and Lorens Huculak, founder of the OpenSea-acquired Gem, also participated in the equity round, which closed in August. The startup declined to share its valuation.
Startups simplifying the process of minting NFTs have been hot property among investors. Haun Ventures and OpenSea recently backed no-code NFT minting platforms Highlight and Fair.xyz, respectively. Rather than tackling the minting process directly, Tropee is focused on the ‘post-mint’ experience.
While its website indicates the users will need to know their way around a wallet, the startup allows its clients to create experiences around a brand’s NFTs with relatively little technical experience, said founder François Mahl in an interview.
“It could be an event, it could be merchandise, a 1 to 1 with a celebrity, an exclusive video, or maybe even an audiobook,” he explained.
Tropee was founded in May last year by a team of four, including the co-founder of French unicorn Meero, and has helped brands such as G-Star and Christian Lacroix build experiences to create utility for their NFT collections, said Mahl.
Tropee is part of a troop of early-stage startups that have raised funding this year that aims to allow users to inject utility into an emerging asset class often associated with financial speculation.
This year, Paradigm led a $16 million raise for NFT membership platform Hang, and digital ownership startup Arianee raised $21 million from Tiger Global and French sovereign wealth fund Bpifrance. Last month, Electric Capital led a $4.2 million investment into Lasso Labs, which allows NFT holders to track the utility of their assets.
These raises came despite stuttering volumes on marketplaces and similarly suppressed floor prices for popular collections throughout this year.
According to The Block Research, while January this year saw volume on popular Ethereum NFT marketplace OpenSea hit close to $5 billion, that figure has trailed off to a mere $326.4 million last month.
But Tropee’s Mahl isn’t necessarily worried about the floor price of popular collections tanking. He thinks the trend will help transform the technology into something more closely associated with utility.
“A lot of people were buying not because they were passionate about the community or because they were passionate about their NFTs but because they wanted to make a quick buck,” he said. “The next phase will be about buying NFTs to enjoy value out of them whether that be real life or digital value.”