- Randi Zuckerberg’s Social Marketplace HUG has raised $5 million in a funding round led by DIGITAL.
- OKX Ventures, the investment arm of OKX also participated in the round.
- HUG also revealed that L’Oréal’s BOLD corporate venture fund, Venrex, Jae Holdings, Cryptology, Samara, and Aa Sons joined as strategic partners.
HUG has announced a $5 million funding round led by DIGITAL, a Web3 investment company focused on digital identity and the metaverse. The fundraising also attracted participation from OKX Ventures, the investment arm of the second-largest crypto exchange platform OKX.
HUG is a social marketplace founded by Facebook Live creator, Randi Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg was later joined by Singaporean investor and entrepreneur, Debbie Soon as Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer. HUG offers a platform that allows artists and creators to connect with their fans and sell digital and physical goods.
HUG revealed that L’Oréal’s BOLD corporate venture fund, Venrex, Jae Holdings, Cryptology, Samara, and Aa Sons joined as strategic partners. The partnerships will give HUG a global footprint as it looks to implement its growth strategy.
The company plans to use the fresh capital to ramp up product growth and integrate creator-first commerce features with its current stack of social curation and discovery tools.
Commenting on HUG’s vision, the founder and CEO Randi Zuckerberg expressed her excitement for building a company dedicated to democratising access to art and changing the way artists are recognised and discovered.
Zuckerberg also lauded the commitment shown by investors and partners who took part in the fundraising saying: “It is great to have the vote of confidence from some of the most seasoned investors in Web3 and consumer technology to deliver a product that will disrupt a multibillion-dollar art industry while paving new ways for how artists and collectors will engage in the future.”
In a recent interview with CNBC, Zuckerberg said as exciting as decentralisation is, we are still far from unlocking the full potential of Web3.
In an exclusive email to NFTgators regarding the statement, Zuckerberg clarified saying: “It is hard to realize the full potential and promises of Web3 when people are so easily scammed. The user onboarding experience also needs to be improved upon, and it remains a big barrier to entry for the average consumer. This only underscores the importance of education and trusted curation, which is what we offer through HUG and our community.”
HUG allows artists to create customised social profiles which they can use to showcase their collections and social links. Its community-driven curation mechanism also allows collectors to easily discover their favourite artists.
They are rewarded with HUG points when their vote on artists. Those points can be exchanged for other rewards, like collections, NFTs and access to exclusive events.
OKX Ventures Partner Jeff Ren commented: “OKX Ventures is committed to bringing blockchain technology to the masses, and we believe that HUG is leading the way by bridging the gap between NFT utility, art, and the general public.”
Mark Daniel, Managing Partner at DIGITAL added: “While NFTs have created new ways for creators to monetize from their audiences, artists and collectors still crave deeper connection and conversation. Similar to how Etsy empowered artisans and craftsmen to find and connect with audiences all over the world at the beginning of Web2, we believe that HUG can do the same for a new generation of artists expanding their business to Web3.”
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