The major hype around NFTs may have died down a bit since the crypto subsector took off last year, but that isn’t stopping startups from building and raising capital in the space.
Minteo, a Latin American-based NFT marketplace, is betting on the digital asset sector going big in the region after it raised $4.3 million in seed funding, the company exclusively told TechCrunch.
Investors in the round include Fabric Ventures, Dune Ventures, CMT Digital, Impatient VC, Susquehanna Private Equity Investments, SevenX Ventures, FJ Labs, Big Brain Holdings, G20 Ventures, Alliance DAO, Zero Knowledge and several angel investors.
Interestingly enough, OpenSea Ventures also participated in the round, even though their NFT marketplace is the largest in the space and technically will compete with Minteo.
“On OpenSea there’s a bunch of categories, it’s hard to navigate and unless you’re in the top collection it’s hard to reach an audience if you’re a creator,” William Durán, CMO of Minteo said to TechCrunch. “We’re trying to simplify the user experience from the infrastructure part, while making it easier for them to access local content on mobile.”
While there are other NFT marketplaces both in Latin America and around the world, Minteo plans to differentiate itself through its infrastructure and focus on working with local artists and brands, among other things, Santiago Rodríguez, CEO of Minteo, said to TechCrunch. “So this all adds up to a very different product at the end of the day.”
“The idea is to work with top artists in the region, the top 40-50 artists in each country,” Durán said. “They don’t necessarily have to be involved with NFTs yet, this can be their gateway into it and we want to help artists get into NFTs.”
Minteo is targeting its beta version to be released next month, Rodríguez said. The platform should be fully live to the public by the beginning of 2023.
The capital will be used to build up the platform, get artists on board from Columbia and Mexico then over time expand into other Latin American countries, Rodríguez said.
In addition to an NFT marketplace, the platform will also have a mobile wallet and fiat on-ramps through its “three-in-one product,” Rodríguez said. “No one really needs to know the technical stuff, so we’re making it simple and building it on mobile because about 70% of Latin American commerce is mobile. People don’t really use desktops.”
With that said, Rodríguez said he is already seeing a lot of interest for NFTs in Latin America.
“In Latin America, we’re all fun, great dancers and love music and arts. That’s when we realized, what’s taken off in NFTs so far is the cultural communities and that has a huge cultural opportunity for Latin America,” Rodríguez said. “But right now, crypto is difficult to get in the first place…a lot of exchanges don’t work well, only very technical people are using it. Outside of technical circles, usage is currently limited.”
In the long term, Minteo hopes to make buying and selling NFTs “as simple as possible like one-click shopping,” Durán noted.
“There’s so many things down the road with this,” Rodríguez said. It’s a completely new technology that can change the access to anything. Our vision is to continue building on new use cases and drive real values from NFTs.”