A new US-based web3 startup called Highlight has raised $11 million in seed funding from a heavyweight list of music industry investors.
Highlight aims to let anyone mint non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with prior technical expertise.
Amongst Highlight’s new backers are WME, Method Music, Mark Gillespie (Three Six Zero) and Chris Zarou (Visionary Music).
Led by Haun Ventures, Highlight’s other named investors in the seed round include 1kx, A.Capital, SciFi VC, Floodgate, Thirty Five Ventures (“35V”), Offline Ventures, DAOJones, Mischief, Polygon Studios, Coinbase Ventures, Scott Belsky, Tarun Chitra, Robert Leshner, Lenny Rachitsky, Gokul Rajaram, and Linda Xie.
In a blog post announcing its launch and seed round, Highlight claims to be “the product of hundreds of conversations with mainstream creators, music artists, and brands, many of whom are excited by Web3 but remain at a distance for fear of technical complexity or fan frustration”.
The company claims further that, launching a project on its platform, “from deploying your custom smart contract to posting token-gated content or utility”, takes less than five minutes and requires no technical knowledge.
The Highlight team’s experience ranges from roles at Square, Instagram, DoorDash, Dapper Labs and Amazon.
In Highlight’s blog post, the company states: “We’ve designed Highlight to make onboarding 100% inclusive for users, with no crypto experience required. This has required some initial tradeoffs, including credit card payment for initial token sales.
“At the same time, we’ve built a system that enables fully non-custodial, EVM-compatible wallets; creator provenance and extensibility on smart contracts; and native interoperability for all the major NFT marketplaces.”
“Highlight is designed from the ground up to be the most effective on-ramp for any fandom or subculture to meaningful web3 ownership.”
Nathaniel Emodi, Highlight
In a LinkedIn post announcing the platform launch and seed funding round, Highlight Co-founder & CEO, and former DoorDash exec, Nathaniel Emodi, said: “Since leaving DoorDash last year, I’ve been working with an insanely talented team on something new in web3.
“I’m stoked to announce that today we’re launching Highlight (highlight.xyz), an end-to-end toolkit for you to bring web3 community membership and rewards to your fanbase, no crypto experience required.
Added Emodi: “Highlight is designed from the ground up to be the most effective on-ramp for any fandom or subculture to meaningful web3 ownership. We started Highlight because we believe digital ownership, powered by blockchains, is the clearest way to improve how creative industries work for both creators and fans.
“Highlight is the product of [hundreds] of [conversations] with musicians, artists, creators, & cult brands, most of whom are stoked by web3 but remain at a distance because of their own technical hurdles, dev costs, or risking fan frustration.
“Beyond gas-free transactions, we have tools to create a beautiful custom-designed home for your token-holders, with rich integrations that offer ongoing real utility + gated access.”
Elsewhere in the NFT space, LimeWire, a former file-sharing platform recently relaunched as a digital collectibles marketplace, and struck its first major label partnership with Universal Music Group (UMG). The deal followed the news that LimeWire raised USD $10.4 million in a private sale of its LMWR token.
Meanwhile, NFT marketplace Serenade raised $4.2m last week, and announced plans to expand into the US.
Music Business Worldwide