Web3 startup Afterparty attracted investments from 25 parties, including Paris Hilton and Andre Iguodala in its latest round of funding.
Coming down from the success of its NFT art and music festival, Afterparty has closed a $4 million funding round to bring its venture capital to $7 million.
Launched in 2021, Afterparty is a web3 startup that builds tools for the NFT community and hosts NFT-focused events. The company manages a venue called the Afterparty House in LA that serves as a community hub for the NFT industry.
The funding round attracted investments from 25 entrepreneurs, creators, and venture capital firms, including Paris Hilton, Acrew Capital, the Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala, The Syndicate’s Jason Calacanis, and Blockchange Capital. Afterparty CEO David Fields told Boardroom in an interview that the company’s new funding is being used to fuel its NFT ticketing platform and to host live experiences.
When he went to other notable art festivals like Art Basel, Fields said NFTs were the sideshow, even though the industry has been showing true promise. The company’s CEO feels like the NFT industry is at the beginning of a powerful movement, so he was eager to build something to make sure the community stays a part of it.
“We saw an opportunity with Afterparty to build a Coachella for the NFT art movement,” Fields told Boardroom. “I felt like I was going to a lot of conferences around NFTs, and there were a lot of interesting discussions, but you almost never saw NFT art at any of these places.”
Fields has spent his entire career at the intersection of entertainment and technology. He previously worked in corporate at Disney and Tornante, and he first learned about Ethereum in 2017. Fields studied economics in college, so he was blown away by the potential of blockchain technology when the industry became a more prominent part of society.
Fields began investing in the crypto space before teaming up with tech executives Eytan Elbaz and Dan Rahmel to launch Afterparty last year. He has also always loved music and festivals, and he’s even been to 11 consecutive Coachella events, excluding this year. Launching an NFT brand focused on entertainment seemed like the best next business move for Fields, especially with the industry on the rise.
“[NFTs] have the potential to be a superfan technology,” Fields said. “Something that could finally enable the vast majority of creators to make a sustainable living doing the things they love.”
Afterparty has a team of 15 employees working hard to bring NFTs to the masses through live events and installations. One of Afterparty’s main goals is to help creators better leverage NFTs and find their footing in the new space.
“I’ve built my career as a creator across social media and IRL projects, and I’ve seen that online creators, be they artists, dancers, choreographers, or musicians, are often more ‘unseen’ and disenfranchised than their peers in the ‘offline’ arena, like touring or television,” Matt Steffanina, a producer, choreographer and Afterparty supporter, said in a statement. “Afterparty has brought entirely new meaning to NFTs to legitimize their ‘art’ and empower them with mentorship to step into Web3.”
Life of the Afterparty
Afterparty hosted its inaugural NFT art and music festival in Last Vegas last month, headlined by The Chainsmokers and The Kid LAROI, with Swae Lee also performing. Fields said the event brought in 6,500 attendees and required guests to purchase a special NFT ticket.
“It helped showcase the power of what an NFT can be for ticketing, artists, or a festival brand,” Fields said. “There’s a lot of opportunity for artists, venues, and festival brands to capture some of the value that’s coming out of the system.”
Fields said Afterparty would be hosting more token-gated events and festivals. The community can always stop by the Afterparty House to see NFTs on digital displays and learn about new collections from emerging creators. Some upcoming events include a festival in LA and the annual NFT art and music festival heading back to Vegas in 2023. Afterparty’s annual LA festival will kick off this fall at a stadium-size venue that can host 20,000 guests, Fields told Boardroom. The company will also be hosting curated live-minting events at the Afterparty House, pop-ups at other art festivals, and more.
“For us, this is long-term,” Fields said. “We’re really ramping up the scale here and pushing our vision forward.”
Afterparty reported in a press release that Heidi Klum and Nick Carter live-minted NFTs on the Las Vegas Strip during its NFT art and music festival. The company is keen on educating the NFT industry on the live-minting process, so it built a minting room at the Afterparty House where its guests can learn and potentially buy NFTs in an intimate setting amongst the community.
Afterparty’s next big focus is its second-generation Guardian NFT collection drop, which will include 10,000 VIP passes to the LA festival, and each one gives holders a lifetime festival membership. This exclusive guarantees members get first dibs on future LA festivals ahead of the public.
The NFT collection’s rollout will take place on Afterparty’s flagship NFT ticketing platform, which challenges conventional ticketing platforms that hike service fees. Afterparty’s platform wants to put the control of the event ticketing sector in the hands of artists and fans.
“A lot of our focus is community-driven,” Fields said. “We want to make this really accessible. We want to show the average music fan how exciting it is to hold something that might have more and more value over time, just like a Coachella season ticket might have. That’s a way I believe we can help show the value of NFTs to a broader community.”