Niio is an Israeli startup that offers an art gallery platform for experiencing art digitally, with NFTs. The company raised $15 million in a Series A round of funding L-Catterton (a joint venture between LVMH and Catterton), Saga VC and existing investors Entrée Capital and Pico Partners.
So what is NFT and why should anyone buy one anyway?
Well here’s the deal. A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a kind of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Only in this case, it is a specific digital file whose unique identity and ownership are verified on a blockchain. NFTs can be bought with cryptocurrency and resold. NFTs have different values and so they are not interchangeable.
Confused? The keyword here is fungible. This means something that has a set value. So Bitcoin has a set value for each coin at whatever the going rate is. So all Bitcoins are equal in value at all times. But each NFT is unique. And the NFT itself is not used as a currency.
This is why billionaires like Mark Cuban and Marc Benioff are so interested in NFTs. In April, the two joined actor Ashton in a $9 million Series A round of funding in the NFT platform startup SuperRare. Founded in 2018, SuperRare says that it enables everyone with an internet connection to be an art collector. Authenticated by the Ethereum blockchain, SuperRare describes itself as a social marketplace for earning crypto and trading one-of-a-kind digital artworks from artists around the world.
And in August, Mark Cuban also invested in Alethea AI, a new company that offers “intelligent” NFTs. Cuban was part of a $16 million round of investment in Alethea AI. The company states that it is creating what it considers to be the underlying infrastructure for iNTFs, using artificial intelligence.
So, what is special about Niio?
Niio boasts that its platform is a complete and open digital art ecosystem, which includes NFTs, through the Niio app. The company has a global community of 7,500 galleries, institutions and artists, from renowned to emerging. The company declares its mission to be to connect a world ready to experience art digitally with artists who have important things to say.
Niio has attracted more than 6,000 artists to date.
“We give them the tools they require, to distribute, manage, monetize and preserve their work through our platform and the blockchain,” says Niio. “Diverse audiences can be inspired by, subscribe to, or purchase from this unprecedented repository, which is available on monitors, phones, and public art installations.”
“We believe Art should be experienced digitally, and we are making that opportunity available with a breadth and ease never seen before.”
Niio markets directly to “discerning individuals, who are seeking new experiences, for themselves and to share, and businesses and municipalities who want to transform their space.”
Oren Moshe, co-founder of Niio, said “We’ve have realized our vision for a platform that first and foremost empowers artists and enables their work to be experienced digitally and available globally. We are gratified by the trust that more than 6,000 artists have placed in us, as we enable them to publish, manage, protect and monetize their life’s work. Without them – and the parallel validation of the art community including museums, collectors, curators and galleries – we would not be in the position we are, with the support of wonderful investors and Samsung.”