Revel, an NFT or “social collectibles” platform, raised $7.8 million in seed funding led by Dragonfly Capital, the startup’s CEO Adi Sideman told ExamPaper exclusively.
“One way to describe Revel is a cross between Instagram and Robinhood wrapped in social gaming economy,” Sideman said.
Instagram is known as a social media platform while Robinhood is known as an investment and trading platform. Revel combines both and helps consumers build a ‘media portfolio’ [and] of the people who collect them,” Sideman said. (As an aside, Instagram announced earlier this month that creators on its platform will soon be able to create their own NFTs and sell them directly to fans, both on and off the visual social network.)
Revel’s marketplace allows users to create NFTs for their followers, friends or community, and people can also own editions of the media they like and follow, Sideman said.
“Followers have a stake in the community they participate in and that’s a powerful new experience,” Sideman said. “It’s nuanced, but it’s powerful.”
And it’s not just a financial interest, he added. “I’m talking about the emotional importance, the community importance, the status, the new paradigm where people become partners of other people’s personal brands.”
The platform uses “social game economics” through game design and simple rules to manage economic concepts such as supply and demand and inflation, among other things, Sideman said. At the heart of Revel’s economy is a gameplay concept that limits the supply and publication of assets to “healthy levels of inflation,” he added.
“We call it ‘Proof of Demand Minting,’ where anyone can mint their first collection, but only people who are collected can mint more,” Sideman noted. “We gamify it to simplify it and obscure economic complexities. The result is that people trade in a marketplace, which contributes to the management of efficient economies, by playing a game of collectibles.”
Early adopters to the platform include web3 savvy people as well as young people “who have more time to deal with new platforms and figure out new games,” Sideman said. The platform has also attracted content creators like Cyrus Dobre, who has nearly 10 million TikTok followers and “regularly posts his art,” Sideman said.
The raise included investors from Union Square Ventures, Sfermion, 6th Man Ventures, Gaingels, Wagmi Ventures, Alumni Ventures, Global Impact Ventures, Hansa Labs and Polygon, among others. The capital will be used to expand Revel’s web3 interoperability, generative and collaborative AI functionality, and social features, Sideman said.
As it stands, there isn’t a robust ecosystem for collectable social media. Some marketplaces aren’t very social, like OpenSea or Magic Eden, and collecting platforms like Sorare and NBA Top Shot aren’t social media focused, Sideman said.
“What’s not there yet, and it’s inevitable, is that the media published on social media, user-owned, personal media, will all be owned and collectible,” Sideman said. “This is leading to a new kind of services, services that are part social networks, part marketplaces, and part social games.”
Revel is a cross between a social network and a marketplace. It should be a simple trading platform that is gamified, allowing individuals to store photos and videos as collectibles. But whether the concept will catch on with smaller makers and average people has yet to be determined.
“The average person won’t want to ‘buy’ your photo, but it’s more nuanced than that,” Sideman said. “The tail of the creator economy is getting longer… [and] we have created a free economy where we expect most people will not open their wallets. They can trade and say, “Give me three of these for one of those.” In many ways it is a media game.” Some people may make offers with assets only, or they may offer assets plus money to get an exchange, Sideman added.
There are other projects around individual creators on the market today – one newcomer is making particular noise – but if the digital collectibles genre can grow despite a generally lackluster NFT market, Revel might be on to something interesting: a true use- case for the blockchain.