- Ben Leventhal has raised $11 million in a Seed round for his new web3 hospitality platform Blackbird.
- The fundraising was co-led by Union Square Ventures, Shine Capital and Multicoin Capital.
- The platform is purposely built to establish a direct connection with guests via loyalty and membership programs.
Ben Leventhal has raised $11 million in a seed round for his web3 hospitality platform Blackbird. The Resy and eater co-founder wants to create a direct relationship between the restaurant and its guests through loyalty and membership services.
The fundraising was co-led by Union Square Ventures, Shine Capital and Multicoin Capital with participation from Variant, Circle Ventures and IAC, among others.
Leventhal who sold Eater in 2013 and Resy in 2019 to Vox and American Express, respectively told The Block “I love building things from scratch.”
“I think when you can take an idea and bring it all the way to fruition and form a real enterprise and a real product around it, there’s nothing more exhilarating,” he added. “Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but it didn’t really occur to me to do anything but this.”
The company is targeting an emerging space in web3 that recently got the attention of the global restaurant chain Starbucks. The American fast food company recently announced teamed up with Polygon to launch a web3 loyalty program, allowing its customers to earn points and purchase digital assets unlocking exclusive experiences and rewards.
According to Leventhal, Blackbird leverages web3 technology to create magical consumer experiences. “So, the enticing question is, how do we point crypto at restaurants in an exciting way? And I think very much Blackbird is the result of that thinking and those conversations,” he said.
While the industry continues to embrace emerging trends in technology. The Blackbird founder thinks there is a divide, that his company could fix.
“Hospitality is very much an intimate relationship, and that direct connectivity matters a whole lot,” Leventhal said. “What we intend to do with the product is really create something that facilitates that direct connectivity.”
The company is looking beyond the widely adopted practice of NFT drops in the industry. Several mainstream companies that have embraced the new paradigm shift in consumer behaviour have populated the market with digital collectibles that are not part of the companies’ missions.
But others like Marriott, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies have developed a clear strategy for the industry. The company has launched a metaverse and NFT action plan that will bring unique experiences and NFTs to its global customers.
Leventhal thinks that targeting services that reward certain consumer behaviours via loyalty and membership programs could be the key to capturing the market long-term.
“In the end, we think those things are going to increase the lifetime value of an individual consumer and if we do that then obviously, we’re going to improve the restaurant business overall,” he said.
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