Kiki World Raises $7M in Seed Funding from a16z


Kiki World, a pioneering beauty startup leveraging web3 technology for customer co-creation and ownership, has secured $7 million in a seed funding round led by the Andreessen Horowitz crypto fund and The Estée Lauder Companies’ New Incubation Ventures. Other prominent backers include OrangeDao and 2Punks Capital.

Founded just last year, Kiki World aims to revolutionize the beauty industry by allowing consumers to actively participate in product creation and ownership through the power of web3 technology.

According to Jana Bobosikova, co-founder of Kiki World, the traditional model of brand loyalty in the Web 2.0 era often fails to reward consumers adequately. Kiki is addressing this by enabling its community members to vote on product features before they are produced. In return, voters earn points towards free products and receive digital tokens in the company, providing them with a stake in Kiki’s success.

Bobosikova emphasized that Kiki’s approach not only fosters community engagement but also reduces the need for large inventories, a common challenge faced by cosmetics companies. By adopting an on-demand approach, Kiki minimizes capital and resource usage.

While Kiki’s platform records members’ product votes on Ethereum, participants do not necessarily need to be blockchain-savvy. Users can simply sign in with an email, and Kiki will automatically create an on-chain account to store their votes securely.

a16z’s decision to invest in Kiki follows the startup’s completion of a 10-week crypto startup accelerator program. Ariana Simpson, a general partner at a16z, praised Bobosikova’s leadership and expertise in both the beauty industry and web3 technology, citing it as a key factor in the firm’s decision to back Kiki.

Prior to founding Kiki, Bobosikova served as the CEO of Epic Future Labs, a product development and brand innovations agency.

Simpson highlighted that Kiki represents a part of a16z’s broader investment strategy in companies leveraging blockchain technology to reward customers. Last year, the firm led a $24 million Series A round for Blackbird Labs, a hospitality tech company with a blockchain-based loyalty program.

Currently, Kiki has launched five product collections, including a nail polish pen, allowing consumers to vote on the next color to be manufactured. Looking ahead, Kiki plans to expand its offerings beyond the beauty industry, although challenges in physical product manufacturing may pose hurdles to this expansion.

Bobosikova emphasized the simplicity yet difficulty of giving customers what they want through active engagement. Despite challenges, Kiki remains committed to its mission of empowering consumers and transforming the traditional beauty industry model.

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