Novel, a no-code platform for Web3 commerce, has raised $6 million in seed funding. Lerer Hippeau led the round.
NEW YORK, April 5, 2022 — Novel, the no-code platform for Web3 commerce, announced today their launch on Shopify alongside a $6 million seed round led by Lerer Hippeau to support the development.
The Novel founding team includes Roger Beaman, the founder of Smartrr, Anna Merzi, founder of AlgoPay, and Brian Sugar, Group Nine Media President and Founder of Sugar Capital. The trio was introduced by Costanoa partner John Cowgill and in their first conversation discovered their shared passion for Web3 commerce and how to democratize it. The team embodies the breadth of knowledge needed to build this first-of-its-kind product, Mr. Beaman’s expertise in execution—he was a senior engineer at Goldman Sachs and held economist roles at Cornerstone Research and the U.S. Treasury Department, prior to founding Smartrr, an e-commerce subscription platform—is complementary to Ms. Merzi’s experience bringing frontier fintech products to market with her experience in building Algopay, a tech-enabled bank in the Middle East.
A unique solution, Novel’s Shopify-enabled platform layers community building and engagement driving functionality, resulting in seamless NFT transactions to match the Shopify experience customers are used to. “Novel eliminates the need for brands and creators to be well-versed in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology,” said Novel CEO, Roger Beaman. “What excites me the most about Novel is that the tech no longer has to be a barrier. If you are an A+ artist or brand-builder on a shoestring budget we can give you the Web3 tools you need, just as Shopify has done for e-commerce operators.”
Novel’s ability to eliminate the barrier to Web3 commerce, for both buyers and sellers, will drive market maturity and help creators and brands connect with their fans in new ways. Notable launch day partners include brands and public figures across a variety of industries from Everlane to Florence by Mills. “When you’ve got a brand with passionate customers who are looking to lean in, you want to build that relationship but you’re not sure where to start, that’s where Novel comes in,“ said Novel CRO, Anna Merzi. “What Novel unlocks in terms of next-level engagement has seen demand from not just the DTC startups we anticipated, but legacy brands, influencers and Web3 projects bringing a totally new category of commerce to Shopify.”
“The Web3 ecosystem has so much potential for widespread adoption but lacks the streamlined experience necessary to become ubiquitous. The moment we are in reminds me of websites adoption for brands in the late 1990s and the gradual layering of e-commerce a decade later. Digital goods house a world of utility and value, be it special offers or access to exclusive message channels and more,” said Novel Executive Chairperson, Brian Sugar.
On the technical side, Novel mints NFTs on the Polygon platform, the most environmentally friendly way to create and sell NFTs while also addressing limitations of the Ethereum blockchain—namely high transaction fees and slow transaction processing speeds. Additionally, each collection dropped through Novel includes a timed reveal process that leverages the security and decentralization best practices of IPFS storage and a provenance record.
The $6 million seed round led by Lerer Hippeau includes additional investment from VaynerFund and Rothy’s Co-Founder Roth Martin, as well as participation from existing investors, Sugar Capital, Costanoa Ventures and other strategic partners. The funding is to aid in hiring efforts and product development as the company continues its rollout of the most robust all-in-one Web3 commerce tool for brands and creators to leverage within their existing Shopify stores.
The NFT market cap crossed the $40 billion mark in 2021 and is estimated to reach over $80 billion by 2025. “We’ve seen how good Web3 companies are at building communities – Novel enables a generation of Web2 companies to do the same,” said Ben Lerer, Managing Partner at Lerer Hippeau. “Any company that isn’t considering new ways to drive loyalty and strengthen relationships with their best customers is going to be left behind.”
For more information, please visit Novel.com