LiveArtX Launches $ART Token To Bring the Traditional & Digital Art Worlds Together

Editor’s note: Congratulations to LiveArtX on another great milestone. AppWorks is excited to be a part of the journey to connect the art world with web3. The press release from LiveArtX is below:

・$ART will provide holders with exclusive access to the physical & digital art worlds across the entire art ecosystem.

・More than $4.5 million already committed by leading investors
including animoca brands, BNB chain fund and KuCoin.

LiveArtX, the premium NFT platform that connects the art world with Web3, is pleased to announce the launch of $ART, a token that provides utility across both the physical and digital art worlds. Holders of the $ART token, the very first of its kind, will gain entrée to the art world, including access to the best of physical and digital art, participation in exclusive art experiences and events, advance notice of drops, a role in platform curation, and membership in the LiveArt DAO. More than $4.5 million has already been committed from prominent blockchain innovators and crypto investors, led by Animoca Brands, Binance and KuCoin, followed by AppWorks, Alameda Ventures, OKX BlockDream Capital, Gate Labs, HashKey, APENFT Foundation, SNZ, Shima Capital, ArkStream Capital, Head&Shoulder Financials, Kikitrade, and Aspen Digital.

LiveArtX is a strategic partnership between LiveArt — founded by art industry leaders including former senior executives of Sotheby’s and Christie’s — to bring access, transparency, and digital solutions to the traditional art world — and Everest Ventures Group (EVG), the blockchain investor and incubator.

Boris Pevzner, Co-Founder and CEO of LiveArt, commented, “The $ART token serves as the ultimate bridge between the physical and digital art worlds. It is the cornerstone of LiveArt’s strategy of blending technology, innovation, and deep knowledge of the art market. We believe in a future art world that combines the best of the traditional art industry with the power of Web3 technology and crypto communities. And that’s why we created LiveArtX with our partners at EVG — a platform with digital and physical art, with purchases made in crypto and cash, with exhibitions in the real world and the metaverse — all underpinned by the $ART token.”

Allen Ng, CEO of EVG and Co-Founder of LiveArtX, said, “Blockchain opens up a lot of overdue possibilities for artists and collectors. But technology can’t do it alone. With the unparalleled art market know-how from the team of LiveArt and now the strong backing from the Web3 community, LiveArtX is going to bring fresh innovation to one of the oldest asset classes of mankind.”

LiveArtX serves the entire art ecosystem. Artists can mint their works in the LiveArtX Creator Hub with powerful rights management and unbreakable resale royalties. Collectors can access a curated selection of only the best artworks on the LiveArtX Marketplace. The White Label Suite enables galleries and partners to launch and manage their own NFT marketplaces, or work with the LiveArtX Studio to curate and market drops. And the LiveArtX Developer Lab empowers the most advanced coders to work with our innovative technology.

The team behind LiveArt includes seasoned art market and technology professionals led by Adam Chinn — founding partner of the international art advisory firm, Art Intelligence Global, and former Chief Operating Officer of Sotheby’s; John Auerbach — CEO of UOVO, the premier provider of fine art and collections storage and services, who previously held senior e-commerce roles at Sotheby’s and Christie’s; and digital entrepreneur Boris Pevzner — whose numerous credits include the development of Collectrium (acquired by Christie’s) and xfire (acquired by Viacom). The leadership team also includes George O’Dell, a veteran Contemporary Art specialist who spent the past 13 years at auction houses in London and New York; and Marisa Kayyem, an art historian and art advisor who was the Director of Education at Christie’s.

About LiveArtX

LiveArtX is a premium NFT platform that connects the art world with web3. Built by art industry leaders, LiveArtX brings creators, collaborators, and collectors into the metaverse. LiveArtX, together with LiveArt.io, provides the ultimate bridge between the physical and digital art worlds — blending technology, innovation, and deep knowledge of the art market.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI, Blockchain, and NFT, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the leading founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

Cyber Sierra Raises US$4.3 Million Seed to Strengthen SME Cybersecurity and Insurance Coverage

Editor’s note: Congrats to Cyber Sierra for closing out their seed round, AppWorks is proud to be a part of the journey! The press release from Cyber Sierra is below:

Cyber Sierra, a technology-enabled cyber insurtech provider, announced the completion of a US$4.3 million seed round of financing led by Leo Capital, with participation from AppWorks, Credit Saison, as well as angel investors including prominent founders and leaders in the cloud and insurance sectors.

Founded in June 2021, Cyber Sierra is a technology company that offers cyber risk, compliance and insurance products backed by leading global brokers and insurers. The company delivers cybersecurity and technology insurance offerings to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with presence on the cloud. Cyber Sierra provides companies with up to US$5 million of cyber and technology insurance coverage. Starting in Singapore, the company is currently expanding to India in addition to other countries in the Southeast Asia region. 

Cyber Sierra is led by a team of seasoned technology entrepreneurs, including Pramodh Rai, who has led technical teams at Hmlet and Funding Societies; and Subhajit Mandal, an experienced fintech and insurtech expert with stints at AXA and MetLife. As a technically-driven company, Cyber Sierra is strongly focused on creating targeted security features for its end users.

Through Cyber Sierra’s platform, businesses will be able to access a number of cybersecurity tools including threat alerts, intelligence feeds, anti-phishing, vulnerability scans and governance features with bundled insurance offerings. Cyber Sierra’s customers include leading fintech companies, healthcare providers, e-procurement as well as ed-tech and e-commerce technology firms.

“Our goal is to serve every online business,” said Pramodh Rai, Co-founder, Cyber Sierra. “In current times, cloud native companies have inevitably either already experienced data and security incidents, or will soon. Cyber Sierra aspires to build the best cyber experience for SMEs, offering a full suite of technology, insurance products and solutions to help companies compliantly strengthen their security posture as well as gain access to expert response and comprehensive insurance coverage when needed.” 

“For a young, fast growing, global and digital commercial risk such as cyber, the next couple of years present a unique opportunity to create the next generational way of insuring businesses,” said Subhajit Mandal, Co-founder, Cyber Sierra. “Our platform is focused on helping customers grow their cyber security posture, with embedded insurance offerings. This helps companies to adopt a more holistic approach to managing cyber risk.”

With this round of financing, Cyber Sierra plans to launch and grow its business offerings to include more products to serve risk and compliance needs of businesses in line with apt regulatory frameworks. It will also bring on new hires across all functions, expand its network of startups, SME customers across Southeast Asia, India, and other markets.

“Covid accelerated the digitization of every business around the world. To meet the needs of online businesses new and old alike, we are excited to back Subhajit and Pramodh, supporting them in building solutions for the cyber security and cyber insurance challenges of the digital economy,“ remarked Shwetank Verma, Managing Partner, Leo Capital. 

Cyber Sierra’s team includes technology entrepreneurs and executives who have built cybersecurity and insurtech solutions for banks, government agencies, cloud providers and (re)insurers. Their combined expertise positions Cyber Sierra to help businesses solve the cyber risk challenges of today and tomorrow.

About Cyber Sierra

Cyber Sierra, a wholly owned product launched by Fort One Technologies Pte Ltd, is a cyber risk solutions suite founded by Subhajit Mandal and Pramodh Rai that combines risk compliance tools and comprehensive cyber insurance to help businesses manage and mitigate cyber risk. Backed by leading brokers and insurers, Cyber Sierra provides companies with up to US$5 million of cyber and technology insurance coverage in Singapore and India. Cyber Sierra’s platform provides alerts, threat intelligence, expert guidance and tools to help businesses grow their security posture in the face of current cyber threats. Cyber Sierra is headquartered in Singapore.

For more information about Cyber Sierra, please visit http://www.cybersierra.co or follow on LinkedIn or Twitter.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI, Blockchain, and NFT, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the leading founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

NOBI Raises US$4M to Make Investing in Crypto Assets Easier for Indonesians

Editor’s note: AppWorks is proud to be participating in NOBI’s seed round. We’re excited to partner with founder Lawrence Samantha to increase access to DeFi opportunities for regular Indonesians. The press release from NOBI is below:

・NOBI raises US$4 million oversubscribed seed funding round from AC Ventures, with participation from AppWorks, Skystar Capital, Cakra Ventures, Global Founders Capital (GFC), and angel investors.

・Crypto transactions have grown 1,222% from US$ 4.6 billion (IDR 65 trillion) in 2020 to US$ 61.4 billion (IDR 859 trillion) in 2021. 

・NOBI helps people to go beyond buying and selling crypto but also earn passive income with competitive interest rates.

・With the  new funding, NOBI plans to further enhance their product and expand the team. 

・NOBI aims to provide easier access to crypto investments to achieve economic equality for everyone.

NOBI, a crypto asset management application that serves the needs of casual investors by offering a variety of easy and safe crypto investments, has announced that it has received a new funding round from AC Ventures. US$4 million has been raised in a seed funding round led by AC Ventures, followed by AppWorks, Skystar Capital, Cakra Ventures, and Global Founders Capital (GFC). In addition, some angel investors also participated in this funding.

As a leading crypto asset management company, NOBI aims to help casual investors to acquire crypto assets easily and safely. Currently, NOBI provides superior products in NOBI Pro, Earn, and Trade. These three products aim to make it easier for users to manage and grow their crypto assets to the fullest with best-in-class strategies.

NOBI is dedicated to helping casual investors who want to diversify their investments into crypto assets and non-traders who don’t have the time to actively manage their assets, free of charge and in an easy way.

“NOBI to the moon! This is a huge step for us. AC Ventures and the rest of our investors bring deep unrivaled experience in financial technology (fintech), investment, and crypto. This investment round shows their trust and commitment to what we can do to make a difference as the crypto and financial space starts to merge,” said Lawrence Samantha, Co-Founder & CEO, NOBI.

Based on data from the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (BAPPEBTI), the number of crypto investors in Indonesia in 2021 has reached 11.2 million people. The transaction value reached IDR 859.4 trillion throughout 2021. In comparison to 2020, there was an increase of 1,222%. Based on this statistical data, Crypto assets have clearly become one of Indonesia’s most favored investment categories.

As a result, we believe that everyone will be able to invest in crypto assets with ease and safety. We acknowledge that with easier access to crypto-asset investments, everyone may achieve economic equality, which is in line with NOBI’s vision and mission.

This funding is also a measure of NOBI’s success as Indonesia’s best crypto asset management company. AC Ventures, AppWorks, Skystar Capital, Cakra Ventures, and Global Founders Capital (GFC) are some of the well-known investment companies that have given their support and trust to NOBI to dedicate to becoming the best crypto asset management in Indonesia.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI, Blockchain, and NFT, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the leading founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

Investing app Infina Closes US$6 Million in Seed Funding

Editor’s note: AppWorks is proud to be participating in Infina’s Series Seed. Looking forward to collaborating with the team in the future. The press release from Infina as below:

・The funding round included Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, Y Combinator, Saison Capital, Starling Ventures, Alpha JWC, AppWorks, alongside investors who have invested in Robinhood, Coinbase, and similar models in other markets.

・Infina, dubbed the “Robinhood of Vietnam” aims to democratize investing in Vietnam, making it easy for anyone to start investing from just US$22 with minimal risk.

Vietnam-focused retail investing app Infina today announced they have closed US$6 million in seed funding from investors such as Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, Y Combinator, Saison Capital, Starling Ventures, Alpha JWC, and AppWorks. Additional investors who have backed Robinhood, Coinbase, and similar models in other markets also participated in the funding.

Infina joins the retail investing app revolution with companies like Ajaib in Indonesia, Groww in India, and Tiger in China that have enabled a new wave of avid retail investors around the world to access financial markets like never before. The Infina app is designed to make investing more accessible, easy, and safe for the young, tech-savvy Vietnamese who are looking to start their investing journey.

Vietnam has a young population of 97 million that is made up mostly of Millenials and Gen Z, many of whom are seeing increased incomes and have an appetite for investing. Vietnam’s benchmark stock market index hit record highs last year, rising 28.1% year-to-date1 in December 2021 and outperforming many of its Southeast Asian equity markets. Vietnam also registered more than 1.3 million new stock trading accounts in 2021, which was more than three times the number for 2020. The number of Vietnamese participating in crypto and NFT is even greater, estimated at around 6 million. Off the back of the surge in retail investing in Vietnam, Infina has seen hyper growth in its users, clocking a compound monthly growth rate of 64% in funded accounts in 2021.

Infina aims to democratise investing by making investing accessible for everyone, regardless of income group, and caters to young and first-time investors whose needs have not yet been well-addressed by existing solutions in the market. Through Infina, users can choose from a wide range of asset classes, from fixed-income products to mutual funds, and more recently stock trading. Expensive investment products are fractionalised, so users can now invest in a diverse portfolio of assets with low minimum amounts. Infina is also making investing widely available to everyone by growing its presence across third party ‘super’ apps. For example, users can now access Infina’s investing products via the popular e-commerce app Tiki.

“Infina’s mission is to empower the rise of retail investors to participate in existing and emerging asset classes so that everyone has a real stake in the economy and prosperity of the country. We’ll be using the funding to continue to build out a world-class team that can develop great technology, deliver the best experience to our users, and drive even faster growth so that we can serve a large portion of the new investors joining the market in the next three years.” said James Vuong, founder and CEO of Infina.

“We are excited to be a part of Infina’s journey because at YC, we love to back founders who are building something people want. The need for a new generation of retail investing apps like Infina is clear, not just for Vietnam but globally,” said Gustof Alstromer, Group Partner at Y Combinator.

Infina is part of Surge’s sixth cohort of 20 companies that build fresher, smarter solutions to help consumers and businesses adapt to a changing world.

Infina was founded by James Vuong, a Silicon Valley engineer turned SE Asia VC investor, turned serial entrepreneur. He previously founded Lana Group, which was acquired by LINE Corp. Prior to that, James was VP of Investment and Kauffman Fellow at IDG Ventures. He received his MBA in Technology Management from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and BSc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley.

About Infina

Infina, dubbed the “Robinhood of Vietnam”, is a leading retail investing app for a young population of close to 100 million. It’s mission is to make investing more accessible, frictionless and safe. The “one-stop shop” mobile app currently offers numerous investment products including stocks, securities and real estate. Infina’s platform fractionalises high-minimum investment products to smaller amounts, as little as $22. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. Infina also allows users to invest in their offerings via other e-wallets and e-commerce platforms.

For further information, please visit https://infina.vn/ or follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI, Blockchain, and NFT, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the leading founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

PopChill 拍拍圈完成 Pre-A 輪融資,目標亞洲最大時尚轉售永續電商平台,AppWorks 領投

編按:我們很高興宣布領投 PopChill 拍拍圈 的 Pre-A 輪募資,支持台灣網路產業中,少數擁有連續創業成功經驗的 Andy 郭家齊與 Kelly 廖家欣,期待他們新啟動的創業旅程,能一如過往繳出亮眼的成績。PopChill 拍拍圈新聞稿原文如下:

由網路連續創業家郭家齊與廖家欣共同創立的,新創時尚轉售平台 PopChill (拍拍圈科技),今日宣布開放 App 下載 (App StoreGoogle Play),並同時宣布完成 Pre-A 輪募資,本輪由AppWorks (之初加速器) 領投,主要投資者還包括中信創投、活水影響力投資、台灣文創天使投資基金。本輪投資金額為 6150 萬新台幣,加計本輪之前即已投入的 4000 萬新台幣種子資金,PopChill 為國內少數網路新創公司,產品尚未上線,就獲得創投青睞,累積募資金額超過新台幣 1 億元。拍拍圈表示,本輪資金將用於驗證商業模式及擴展台灣市場。

一般來說,創投偏好投資中晚期的創業項目,一間連產品都沒上線,沒有營運數字的新創公司,在任何市場成功募資的機率都很低,是甚麼吸引創投公司破例投資?以下從團隊、商業模式、市場、趨勢四點進行分析。

【團隊】連續創業,獲得市場關注

PopChill 由郭家齊、廖家欣共同創辦,郭家齊畢業於史丹佛電腦科學碩士,廖家欣畢業於台大管理學院工商管理學系,一位負責平台開發及底層技術,另一位負責行銷,兩位有共同 13 年創業的經驗。平台尚未上線即獲得創投資金的支持,主要原因是團隊為網路連續創業者,在台灣網路暨電子商務產業締造許多記錄,共同成立的一家公司被美國網路公司 Groupon 收購、一家公司成為台灣最快上櫃 50 億電商、一家公司成功登錄興櫃的經營實績,加上所選定的題目也符合近幾年投資者對ESG (環境、社會、治理) 及永續 (Sustainablility) 相關議題的趨勢。

【商業模式】結合 IG 與 eBay 的社群商務

PopChill 結合 Instagram 與 eBay 的新經濟模式,打開 PopChill 的 App 首頁,就能看到台灣各地女生衣櫥內服飾鞋包配件的美圖,且呈現方式類似 Instagram 的大圖,提供「逛」的新體驗,拍拍圈一大特色是主打這些時尚的商品貼文,都是使用者原創內容 UGC (User Generated Content),可以充分的展現出每一個賣家她的個人衣櫥風格和獨具特色的時尚品味,賣家每一次的商品貼文,都能觸及到追蹤她的粉絲,因此可以看見 PopChill 上的賣家會主動經營自己的 PopChill 帳號,頻繁地分享個人穿搭與各式流行單品,以及追蹤、拍手、愛心跟其他潛在買家進行互動,藉由平台機制的設計,這些互動都能高效的將衣櫥內具轉售價值衣物售出。PopChill 目前為一 16 人團隊,為提供使用者轉售自己衣櫃閒置衣物的服務,不同於傳統電商以「搜尋」為主,更像一本可以逛的可以買的線上時尚雜誌,用社群介面幫助賣家更容易把東西賣出去,買家也更容易買到心儀的商品。

【市場】台灣在二手購買偏好,排名大東南亞地區第二

據統計,台灣二手平台上,服飾配件是用戶最願意買 (52%) 和賣 (62%) 的類別。在過去三年中 (從 2018 年到 2020 年),時裝類別二手商品在需求和供應方面一直佔據首要位置。報告更指出在 2021 年台灣市場這一趨勢繼續快速增長,尤其是在女裝類別。

二手電商賽道加速期來了?其中又以 Fashion 為大宗?觀察歐美趨勢,這幾年時尚轉售平台漸趨成行,例如美國的 Poshmark 在 2021 年 1 月 IPO,英國的 Depop 在 2021 年 7 月,以 16 億美金的價格被電商平台 Etsy 併購。PopChill 觀察到時尚轉售風潮的興起,也預期這股風潮將在台灣及東南亞發生,因此目標成為台灣及東南亞的時尚轉售電商龍頭。

【趨勢】二手時尚新興消費者集中在 Gen Z 與千禧世代

PopChill 設定的目標族群中,其中 Gen Z 重視獨特性和多元包容性,他們不論是在消費或選擇工作時,都比上個世代更在意企業是否善盡社會責任,他們的環保和道德感較高,反對「即用即棄」的浪費行為,願意支持對地球永續發展的概念,根據國發會統計,台灣 Z 世代有 378 萬人,千禧世代有 517 萬人,這兩個世代對科技與社群媒體的仰賴度極高,無論是生活、娛樂或消費習慣都和數位密不可分。

郭家齊表示,從過去 13 年的創業經驗來看,台灣從來沒有置身在國際趨勢的發展之外,他觀察到國外在全品項綜合型平台如 eBay 等發展成熟後,陸續出現「細分領域」的用戶對用戶間的個人交易,其中又以Fashion為大宗,而更值得關注的,這類Marketplace的交易平台的新興消費者主要集中在千禧一代和 Z 世代。

PopChill 初期增長策略奏效

做為一個雙邊平台,就像 Airbnb 和 Uber 一樣,PopChill 初期面對的是每個平台初期最難解的「雞蛋問題」。買家要有足夠的賣家才會願意使用,同時賣家也要有足夠的賣家才會使用。PopChill 解決雞蛋問題的方法,是在開站前先召募了超過 500 位賣家,上傳了 1 萬個物件,以此先解決雙邊平台的賣方問題,以此吸引早期的買家進來使用。這些早期的種子用戶會願意在拍拍圈還沒有上線時,就願意響應加入,多數人表示很大的原因是拍拍圈真的解決了他們的痛點,還有,他們認同永續時尚的概念,希望能為地球的可持續性發展也貢獻一份心力,這件事情對經歷過共享經濟浪潮的年輕世代來說很有意義,接受度和認同感也相對高。

如何過好生活、同時又與環境共榮?

線性經濟的商業模式,成為了全球主要的發展模式,正以前所未有的速度在消耗地球上有限的資源,如果時尚產業繼續往這個方向發展,到 2050 年時,將會為地球整體升溫 2 度的碳排放貢獻出 26% 的碳排放、造成 3 億噸不可再生資源的消耗、超過 2200 萬噸的塑膠微纖維流進海洋,時裝業將用掉世界碳排放預算的四分之一。

企業也是社會公民,應該善盡社會責任,在推廣 PopChill 的本身,也是推廣一種「如何過好生活、同時又與環境共榮?」的生活態度,PopChill 成立第一年即登錄成為社會創新組織成員,結合聯合國永續發展目標 SDGs12 負責任的消費與生產,希望兼顧經濟發展也能對環境友善,藉由科技或商業模式的創新應用,希望推動轉售有利於社會和環境永續發展的理念,成為台灣消費者要購物時的永續電商首選。

郭家齊:本輪資金將用來驗證商業模式的可行性

雖然這幾年台灣新創網路公司已較以往容易取得創投資金支持,但像 PopChill 於平台還未上線,即已取得創投投資,仍屬相當少見。AppWorks 合夥人程九如指出:「長期以來,我們積極支持 AppWorks Accelerator 生態系中的新創校友以及 Mentors。Andy (郭家齊) 與 Kelly (廖家欣) 是台灣數位產業中,極少數擁有多次成功經驗的連續創業者,在擔任我們加速器的 Mentors 多年期間,不僅經常與其他年輕創業者分享第一手創業經驗,面對產業最前緣變化所帶來的機會,也總能在極短的時間內因應並掌握。AppWorks 相當幸運,過去投資了他們共同創辦的創業家兄弟、松果購物兩家新創,最後都成功以 IPO 退場。這次再次支持他們新啟動創業旅程,期待能一如過往繳出亮眼的成績。」

據悉,創辦人及其家族自身在種子輪就投入 4000 萬的自有資金,從 0 到 1 搭建一個兼具社群及電商金流物流資訊流的交易平台,有一定的資金和技術進入門檻,對創投而言,創業者本身投入的資金多寡,很大程度代表了創業者對於這個項目的投入和信心,也表示創業者本身願意承擔大部分的風險,PopChill 經營團隊希望隨著創業公司證明其成功概率的增加,客戶群的增長和概念的驗證,在產品上線前完成 Pre-A 輪募資,團隊可以在專心在開發產品和提升客戶體驗上,有足夠的試錯空間,盡快找到可規模化的模式。

郭家齊表示:「創投的支持,除了是對 PopChill 的支持,也是對台灣新創的肯定。」PopChill 預計使用本輪資金來驗證商業模化,並加速規模化,期望能於上線2年內達到損益兩平。

初期採邀請制,養出社群黏著度後,將全面開放

拍拍圈 App 初期採邀請制,沒有邀請碼的一般民眾可以下載 App 後可以用手機號碼註冊並輸入邀請碼「popchill」即可免費加入,上傳商品不需上架費,目前僅開放上傳女性衣櫥內閒置用品 (包括服飾、鞋包、配件等)。PopChill 是走 C2C 輕資產的模式,也就是用戶自行上架,可以對衣物有絕對的訂價權,同時可以透過PopChill 經營屬於自己的個人帳號,創造自己與其他賣家的差異化,市場分析者表示:「PopChill 賣的其實不是衣服,賣得更多是這個用戶自身的穿搭風格和影響力,還有推廣永續發展的理念與精神。」

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