Koop raises $5M to enable communities and creators to raise funds with NFTs
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Koop raised $5 million to enable communities and creators to raise funds with NFTs. Already $850 million has flowed into Koop projects, and it is launching its public efforts today.
Koop enables any creator, collector, or community to organize and fundraise through NFT (non-fungible token) art or collector passes. Funds from collector passes form each community’s treasury (or bank) to back their projects and missions on chain. Communities can then directly manage their treasury, leverage the unique skills of their members, and govern their organization in a fun and social way.
Whether creators are launching a venture fund, producing a media arm or starting the next big clothing brand, Koop’s software standardizes how a community runs, monetizes, and grows in a Web3 world, said Natalia Murillo, CEO of Koop, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“I started Koop about a year and a half ago, in the middle of COVID. I was working in different DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) and different NFT projects,” Murillo said. “And I felt like there was infrastructure missing for tokenized communities or crypto native communities. And so we started Koop, which is a way to turn what would be consumers inside of a community instead of a guild inside of a network, and empower them to become creators or active contributors to accomplishing the community’s goals and missions.”
Additionally, in a traditional Web2 world with a binary incentive model (like/follow), fans have no way to productively engage with a creator. But because of Koop’s model, creators and their fans become cofounders working together toward a common goal and generating wealth together.
To start a Koop, you launch a membership pass. Community members will come and mint that membership pass. All of the funds from that membership pass will go into a community treasury. Then the community will vote on what to do with that treasury. Koop sits on top of Ethereum, and it costs about $20 to launch a Koop.
A young team
The New York company is the brainchild of Murillo, a 21-year-old founder who decided to drop out of college at the University of Southern California to pursue her passion for cryptocurrency. It was a pretty brave move for a first-generation American whose Argentinian parents didn’t come from money.
“I was a freshman at USC studying neuroscience and data science. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” Murillo said. “This was around the time that I discovered crypto and NFTs. And so I decided to take a leave of absence. And I got really, really deep into crypto. Honestly, the most fun I’ve ever had on the internet, I was contributing to multiple DAOs, I was investing NFTs with friends. And after that entire experience, I knew that I needed to build something inside crypto. And so I took a step back and really sat back and asked myself, ‘What are my two predictions about the future?’ I think predicting the future is one of the best ways to work on projects that you find fulfilling.”
She added, ” And the first prediction was that people feel more attachment to their digital communities than they do to their state or their town. And I felt that that sentiment was increasingly true not only for myself, but actually all college students, especially under COVID. In games today, they participate in these fictional worlds with more passion than they do with a lot of Americans participating in their local democracies. But then models of citizenship haven’t surpassed subscriptions.”
Murillo focused on where people can engage in these fandoms and participate in digital universes.
“Koop is a product that enables a future that’s globally connected, but hyper-localized. Today, network platforms enable these digital town squares, but they don’t allow us to exist in private spaces with friend groups.”
Murillo said the early adopters of Koop have definitely been Gen Z, or individuals like musicians who are trying to break out of tired traditional models of work and they’re looking for more fluidity.
“People have an opportunity to do multiple part time jobs, and this flexibility significantly increases the opportunity cost of choosing an exclusive employer,” Murillo said.
But it does make sense to get involved with multiple Koops.
With her idea, products are birthed from communities, not marketed to them. It won’t be that a superstar sets up a Koop. The next superstar will be birthed out of a Koop, according to Murillo.
“Let’s imagine that you are a creator. We work with Logan Paul. He will create an NFT collection, and all the money from the NFT collection will go to a community treasury. So anybody who’s involved in his community has access to those funds,” Murillo said. “And then the community can vote on what to do with those funds. And by voting, what we’ve seen is it empowers this new type of participation and real engagement from fans that you previously don’t see in Web2 as an example.”
Koop turns consumers into creators
In just two months of private beta, Koop communities have generated $850 million in volume. That means people have poured that much money into different Koop projects.
The goal is empowering passive consumers to become active contributors. Koop leverages NFT collector passes to fund projects, gain ownership and generate wealth together.
“We think the next biggest brands will actually be birthed through Koop. And that’s because for the first time in history, products are birthed from the communities and not marketed to them,” Murillo said. “We have a project. The community puts together events, like creating a documentary, building software, building a token for our next party in New York. And so everyone feels like an active owner and participant. And then these passes that you use for the initial fundraise gain more value on the secondary market. So users are directly being streamed profits from their contributions inside of the community.”
1confirmation and Variant Fund led the round, with participation from Palm Tree Crew, Day One Ventures, Ethereal Ventures, DeFi Alliance, Volt Capital, PearVC, DCF God, 0xmons, Cooper Turley, Balaji Srinivasan (ex-Coinbase CTO and a16z GP), and Liu Jiang (ex-Sequoia partner).
Koop currently has 50 active communities, with 8,500 on waitlist, and sign-ups are growing four-fold week over week.
Funds from collector passes form each community’s treasury to back ideas and creations – ranging from content to software. Whether creators are launching a venture fund, producing a media arm, building open-source software, or starting the next great ice cream brand, Koop’s software standardizes how a community runs, monetizes, and grows in a Web3 world.. For the first time in history, products are birthed from communities not marketed to them.
Currently, builders on Koop include Mems NFT, The Heart Project, 1confirmation, musicians with creatorDAOs, and gaming guilds.
The incentives are misaligned when users are consumers of content, rather than owners, Murillo said. Koop offers a new mechanism for participation where community governance incentivizes owners to remix and compose existing content.
“Discord and Reddit are public town squares where membership is fungible,” said Murillo. “The next wave of digital interactions, led by Koop, will look like a private group chat amongst friends. It offers non-fungible membership, community-owned content, and active participation, instead of the extractive engagement we see today in the form of likes and comments.”
Murillo previously worked at Juicebox DAO, NFTFund and Arena, with team members formerly at NASA, Google and Stripe.
“The internet has shed a light on the power of mission-driven online communities, but Web2 protocols offer few methods of sharing creators’ success with their audience or rewarding early supporters of their communities,” Murillo said. “Koop enables the next generation of community building, where creators and their fans are co-founders working together towards a common goal.”
Unlike DAOs, Koop’s magic happens in smaller squads — and because crypto is as much of a technological movement as it is a cultural one, Koop sees collectives of friends raising capital and creating movements at the edges of work and play.
“It won’t just be crypto-native people using Koop in the future — that’s why Koop’s market is so big,” said Nick Tomaino, founder and general partner at 1confirmation, in a statement. “It won’t be that Supreme sets up a Koop. The next Supreme will be birthed out of a Koop. We’re thrilled to back an exceptional team creating a tokenized ecosystem that’ll power the next viral brand.”
Koop’s diverse tools enable creators and builders to manage their communities’ treasury as well as gain valuable insight and input from their most loyal contributors, all through the variety of tools (NFT membership, community governance, treasury) available through its contracts.
“We launched Aera Force with the premise of a community-driven participatory investment process. Anyone in the community that wants to contribute has the opportunity to and can earn rewards too,” said Tyler Stambaugh of Aera Force DAO, a venture DAO focused on Web3 climate projects, in a statement. “Koop is a core part of our stack, allowing us to scout, distribute rewards, and build a truly community-owned network.”
Murillo said that over time, active community members can develop a reputation and import that information to another Koop and so become active and trusted in another project.
Murillo said gaming projects are a big part of Koop’s roadmap. It has 50 active communities, including many that came out of USC. Each has around 2,000 to 10,000 members. They have had a lot of activity and progress so far. Not bad for a team of five.
Murillo is aware of the crypto winter and crash in NFT pricing.
“Most of our communities have been incredibly resilient. And if anything, it has helped us kind of break through the noise and find Koops that are really mission-driven, and who really stick to the product,” she said. “If we think about the most successful Koops, they’re going to live and die by their ability to rally together, produce content and scale their cultural resonance. And these almost like tribe members, Koop members, they capture value by owning these underlying NFTs and contributing and feeding back secondary value, whether that be through marketplace sales, or through streaming rights or royalties.”
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