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Irene Zhao’s Startup So-Col Is Raising Funds at $100M Valuation

UTC by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Irene Zhao’s Startup So-Col Is Raising Funds at $100M Valuation
Photo: Irene Zhao / Instagram

Irene Zhao’s SO-COL is making it easy for anyone who wants to be involved with the platform to have an easy landing as it is taking payments in both fiat currency and cryptocurrencies.

Irene Zhao’s SO-COL, a startup that seeks to bridge the gap between Web2.0 and Web3.0 influences, is raising funds that may see its valuation pegged at $100 million. The funding report was first published by The Block following an exclusive interview with Irene, one of the biggest social media influencers in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

As noted, the new funding round will be led by Blockchain Capital and its primary aim will be to ‘supercharge’ influencers’ output with Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). The startup came about on the premise that influencers in Web2.0 do not have any avenue to connect with their fans, a dilemma that is resolved by the crypto world.

Through SO-COL, influencers with zero knowledge of the digital currency world will be able to buy anything through the platform.

“We are helping all the creators and influencers who are completely web2 to get into web3 by giving them a very simple user interface,” she said. “They can actually use their Apple Wallet, any wallet they have, to buy anything on our platform.”

Irene Zhao’s SO-COL is making it easy for anyone who wants to be involved with the platform to have an easy landing as it is taking payments in both fiat currency and cryptocurrencies. The startup said it will partner with Stripe for the fiat payment gateway and with StarkEx, an Ethereum scaling solution to help reduce the gas fees associated with the platform as a whole.

Irene Zhao’s SO-COL Has Good Precedents for Success

The startup has a perfect proof-of-concept to pattern its proposed success story after. This proof of concept is modeled in the IreneDAO NFT collection that was launched by the Instagram model and influencer. The NFT collection consists of 1,100 items which currently has 474 owners.

The NFTs are picture-like stickers depicting Zhao in various poses accompanied by crypto catchphrases. The model released the NFTs to prove that one can monetize social media following, and her bet is paying off as over 2,600 Ethereum worth of the NFTs have been traded according to OpenSea data.

Drawing on the success of the IreneDAO collection, the funding round, when completed, will see SO-COL hire a number of developers to continue building the platform ahead of a June launch. Marketing will also be one of the core utilities that the funding will provide as the startup hopes to reach more users through targeted publicity over time.

The proposed funding round by SO-COL is accompanied by a February seed round that saw the likes of Animoca Brands and DeFiance Capital co-led that raise, alongside Three Arrows Capital, Mechanism Capital, Global Founders Capital, Double Peak Group, Antifund, Genblock Capital, and Kronos Research pool $1.75 million for the startup.

Apparently, there is a high level of trust among these groups of investors for Irene Zhao’s SO-COL business model, and many are optimistic about what the project has to offer.

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Benjamin Godfrey

Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalists who relish writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desires to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain based media and sites. Benjamin Godfrey is a lover of sports and agriculture.

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