CEO and Founder of Ayokenlabs Joshua King
Ayoken, an NFT-focused startup has raised $1.4 million in its pre-seed financing round that saw the participation of investors like Founders Factory Africa, Texas-based Kon Ventures, Europe-based venture capital collective Crypto League, Ghana-based R9C Ventures, and Maximus Ventures.
Its NFT marketplace called Ayokenlabs will put on display digital collectibles from creators like singers, musicians, sports brands, and influencers globally. The startup, thanks to the new funding, will allow users to earn and grow their revenue streams through digital collectibles.
Founded by CEO Joshua King, Ayoken hopes the be the biggest bridge between creators/artists and their fans, ensuring that fans get to participate and get a sense of ownership from the success of the creators/artists they support. According to Ayoken’s CEO, fans will be granted access to tokens such as BTS videos and album art, access to unreleased music, and exclusive live events. “Through VIP passes, fans will get the ability to actually live stream music by these artists before it arrives on Spotify, YouTube, or Apple Music. Fans will get discounts for future events too,” Joshua King said.
Ayoken’s CEO has over a decade of experience working in strategic growth and innovation consultancy and entrepreneurship. He was part of the team that helped scale Nairobi-based Bitpesa which leverages Bitcoin to power cross-border remittances. This was the platform that introduced him to the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
The startup is headquartered in London and while it plans to release NFTs of some of Africa’s biggest artists, it currently has a partnership with Ghanaian artist KiDi. Ayoken is set to release his first NFT on the 1st of June 2022.
Ayokenlabs is built on Avalanche blockchain and currently allows crypto and card payments. There are plans to add mobile money payment onto the platform, CEO Joshua King said explaining that it will make it easier for people in Africa to trade by providing a system they are already used to.
The CEO also added that negotiations for partnerships with telecommunications companies in Africa are already in the work to ensure that mobile payments as a payment option on the platform come to life. “We are reducing friction points for the 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 the payment in the future too. Nothing comes close to what we are doing and that is why we are able to sign some of the biggest names in the creative industry,” he said.
Tokens on the platform are called Ayo and users can earn Ayo when they buy NFTs or refer people. Accumulated tokens can be used to acquire an NFT on the platform.
The question now is what makes Ayokenlabs different from other NFT marketplaces coming into the picture. According to its CEO, unlike other NFT marketplaces, Ayoken has distribution partners including YouTubers, influencers, newsletters, crypto exchanges, and telecommunication companies to promote NFT drops. This will give creatives/artists a wider audience that will exceed just their fan base.
“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. They (distribution partners) will get a revenue share based on any transactions generated on their social media promotions,” CEO Joshua King said.
“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 added. The startup also has plans of signing exclusive deals with artists and partnerships with telecommunication companies. It will also be investing in hiring talents.