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Story Protocol has raised $54 million in funding to create the infrastructure for a new era of creativity and intellectual property ownership.
The company blends IP ownership and Web3 to support its vision for democratizing IP creation and creating a global and extensible IP repository.
A16z, the big venture capital company created by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, led the round. Story Protocol uses Web3 to trace who created what, among other things.
The platform offers a streamlined framework designed to manage the entire lifecycle of IP development. It introduces features such as provenance tracking, frictionless licensing, and revenue sharing. This has proven difficult for Web3 marketplaces such as OpenSea.
Story Protocol also caters to creators across various media formats, including prose, images, gaming, and audio. Made for creators across all media – prose, images, gaming, audio and more – applications built on Story Protocol give writers and artists the ability to track their work’s provenance, allowing anyone to contribute and remix while capturing the value of their contributions.
“In a world of total abundance catalyzed by generative AI, blockchain technology presents the perfect solution for transparent provenance tracking and fair attribution,” says SY (Seung Yoon) Lee, cofounder of Story Protocol, in a statement. “Story Protocol will usher in a new era of entrepreneurial creators and provide existing IP holders an entirely new way to engage audiences and advance their IP.”
Story Protocol aims to foster a diverse ecosystem of third-party developers offering services such as crowdfunding, capital formation, IP discovery, licensing modules, authentication for AI content, and community growth. Its open and modular architecture allows seamless integration with any application, removing platform risks for ecosystem builders.
“Web3 has the promise to help solve some of the longest-standing problems in the media and entertainment industries,” said Sriram Krishnan, General Partner at A16z crypto, in a statement. “We believe that Story Protocol has the opportunity to revolutionize the future of IP for artists, fans, and developers by empowering creativity at the speed of the internet.”
Story Protocol’s founding team has experience building successful storytelling and consumer applications for Web 2 (specifically, Radish and Episode).
The founding team behind Story Protocol combines the expertise of serial entrepreneurs and seasoned operators from diverse backgrounds in entertainment, web3, and artificial intelligence. With their collective experience, the team is well-positioned to drive the platform’s growth and revolutionize the way intellectual property is created and shared.
Asked about the inspiration, Story Protocol said, “Despite their successes, Radish was acquired by Kakao Entertainment for over $440mm and Episode surpassing 200mm downloads, the cofounders deeply felt the traditional model of bootstrapping IPs relied too heavily on marketing and lacked tools to foster deeper engagement with their audiences.”
And the company said the founding team sought to build an open-source solution to enable IP owners to foster a deeply engaged community of fans and creatives, treating them as co-contributors rather than mere consumers. Blockchain allows it to assign ownership at the internet scale by providing clear provenance and attribution. Story Protocol leverages blockchain technology to turn IPs into robust networks of fans and creatives, giving creators across prose, music, gaming, and more the right tools for sustainable and resilient growth.
Other investors include Hashed, Endeavor, Samsung Next, dao5, Insignia Venture Partners, David Bonderman (chairman of TPG Capital), Si-hyuk Bang (chairman of HYBE/BTS), Paris Hilton’s 11:11 Media, CH Kim (CEO of Krafton/PUBG), Kyung In Jung (CEO of Black Label), Wattpad Co-founder Allen and Eva Lau’s Two Small Fish Ventures, Alliance DAO, Foresight Ventures, Mirana Ventures, Balaji Srinivasan, Nicolas Berggruen, Charlie Songhurst, David Lee (SLVC), Sanghun Kim (former CEO of Naver), Chang Kim (founder of Tapas) and Roham Gharegozlou (founder & CEO of Dapper Labs), among others.
David Goyer’s advice
In addition to securing funding, Story Protocol said it has recruited filmmaker David S. Goyer as an advisor. Goyer, celebrated for his work on notable film trilogies such as Blade and The Dark Knight, as well as TV series like Foundation, brings extensive experience in storytelling across various mediums, including gaming and virtual reality.
“I envision a future where creators will wield greater control over their IPs, extend their influence on a global scale, and cultivate direct connections with their community,” said Goyer, in a statement. “Story Protocol marks a new era for the entertainment industry and the start of a new ownership model for creators and fans.”
Asked about Goyer’s role, the company said, “We believe creators should have a stake in the IPs they helped build and get some upside exposure in the success of a franchise. With our protocol, creators can kickstart their ambitions without the need for intermediary studios or distribution platforms by bootstrapping a community of fans who are rewarded for their contributions to the IP, while creators maintain their ownership and ability to see through their creative vision. The support of filmmaker David Goyer as an advisor makes us confident we can positively change the entertainment industry to benefit writers, actors and creators at every level.”
The company has more than 20 employees. To clarify how the company hopes to stand out, Story Protocol said, “A good mental model for understanding what we’re building is Git for IPs with ownership and incentives. The internet is a co-creation and remixing machine, and this trend is going to be supercharged by generative AI, but there is no IP infrastructure (both legal and technical) to support such co-creation and remixing and reward all the contributors in this networked creation process.”
Story Protocol also said it is designed as a base layer for IP applications, so its primary goal is to attract developers to build amazing services and tools that can empower creators and artists. The project aims to attract a rich ecosystem of third-party developers providing services encompassing crowdfunding, capital formation, IP discovery, licensing modules, authentication for AI content, and community growth.
The open and decentralized nature of the protocol gives the company a major advantage because it removes the platform risk for ecosystem builders, Story Protocol said. No one wants to spend tons of effort and resources with the risk of getting shut off from the same platform they helped grow. With that said, the creators, artists, and IP owners are the ultimate beneficiaries of this ecosystem.
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