Spatial Labs, a web3 infrastructure firm focused on improving metaverse and commerce, raised $10 million in a seed funding round.
Blockchain Capital led the round, with existing investor Marcy Venture Partners, the venture firm co-founded by rapper Jay-Z, also participating, among others, according to a release from Spatial Labs. The round brings Spatial Labs' total funding to over $14 million, having raised a pre-seed round of $4 million last year.
Spatial Labs' fundraising came against a tough background of weakening crypto markets. The startup began raising in mid-2022 and completed the equity round by December, Iddris Sandu, its 25-year-old founder and CEO, said in an interview.
The round is also notable as a rare slice of cash for a Black founder in the U.S., where only about 1% of venture capital funding went to startups with Black founders in 2022, according to Crunchbase data. Sandu thinks he's the first Black founder under 30 to raise a double-digit million seed round.
Born in Ghana and raised in the U.S., Sandu founded Spatial Labs in 2020, aiming to improve consumer experience with blockchain-enabled technology. Spatial Labs develops software and hardware tools that connect brands and consumers. The firm launched its first product called LNQ (pronounced "link") in May 2022. LNQ is a chip that uses Polygon's blockchain technology to authenticate products and create "digital twins," virtual copies of physical objects.
"LNQ allows users to have a single sign-on or ID for all the brands they are involved with, and it enables them to track provenance," Sandu said. "Brands, on the other hand, can access data related to how consumers are behaving with products and unlock new revenue models."
Sandu said around 10,000 LNQ IDs have been issued thus far in the product's testnet phase. The mainnet will go live in the coming months, he added.
With fresh capital in hand, Spatial Labs plans to continue building its products and increase its team size. There are currently around 25 people working for the firm, and Sandu is looking to double headcount by the end of the year.
"By empowering new business models, delivering immersive experiences, and providing insights into consumer needs, Spatial Labs will continue to shape and power the future of commerce and connectivity in web3," Bart Stephens, founder and managing partner of Blockchain Capital, said in the release. Stephens is also joining Spatial Labs' board of directors, said Sandu.
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