Sleek, a web3 social network platform, has raised $5 million in a seed funding round.
Investors include Binance Labs, Shima Capital, Spartan Group, Symbolic Capital, Market Across and Big Brain Holdings, Sleek said Friday. The funding was realized via a simple agreement for future tokens (SAFT), Tania Tse, co-founder at Sleek, told The Block. She declined to comment on valuation, but a source with direct knowledge of the matter said Sleek's valuation with the round is $50 million.
Sleek initially started as ChapterX, a no-code metaverse platform, but pivoted to a web3 social network because "the metaverse was still too early for mass adoption," Tse said. ChapterX was part of Binance Labs' Incubation Program, Season 4. Sleek's other co-founder, Chase Guo, was an investment director at Binance Labs before starting ChapterX (now Sleek).
What is Sleek?
Launched in April of this year, Sleek is a blockchain-based social media platform that helps people connect with each other via a card and a Telegram bot. "We built a Sleek card and Telegram bot to solve a very simple problem — you don't remember most people you meet in person, so our card and Telegram bot automatically capture data for you and remind you later on," Tse said.
"Users can also discover and network with other attendees through the bot. We accumulated 20,000 verified users through events and conferences, mostly through word of mouth, with no monetary incentives at all. This provides Sleek with a solid user base and insight into user needs," Tse added.
When asked how Sleek is different from other web3 social networks, Guo said other platforms use tokens or incentives to bootstrap their user base. "Most of the time, this strategy does not result in unique content generation and sustainable growth," he said. "People are here for the airdrop and leave once they cash out. Sleek took a very different approach — build a real use case first with die-hard fans."
Sleek has sold around 15,000 cards since its launch to date and helped power over 300,000 connections, Guo said. Sleek has two variants of its card — prism and premium — priced at about $30 and $35, respectively, according to its website.
Sleek knowledge marketplace
Sleek is also working on launching a knowledge marketplace that would allow domain or subject matter experts to tokenize their knowledge and earn money.
"The monetization model of fees has proven to work in exchanges and DeFi (trading fees) as well as NFTs (royalties) and can better align incentives between creators and fans through shared financial incentives," the source quoted above said.
The marketplace is expected to launch in the first half of next year.
Sleek is a multi-chain platform, supporting Ethereum, Polygon, Solana and BNB -0.12% Chain, Tse said. But the default wallet Sleek creates for each user is on Solana due to low transaction fees, she stated, adding that this way, "users do not have to go create and seed phrases through our platform and can easily onboard to receive airdrop / NFTs at events."
There are currently eight people working for Sleek, and the startup plans to hire more people across product marketing, growth and design functions with seed funding in place, Tse said.
© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.