A prominent enabler of technology-infused clothing, IYK has announced a successful $16.8 million seed funding round led by prominent venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
“We raised a $16.8M seed round led by @a16zcrypto. Our next step? Launch IYK Platform to bring more creators into the wwworld ✶ of digi-physical,” IYK said in a tweet that also had a picture of IYK founders Ryan Ouyang and Christopher Lee.
Other participants included Collab + Currency, 1kx, Lattice Capital, Synergis Capital, Palm Tree Crew, and Coop Records. Notably, the round also attracted influential figures from the Web3 space, including Erick Calderon, the founder and CEO of Art Blocks, gmoney, the pseudonymous founder of the 9dcc fashion brand, and Justin Aversano, a photographer and co-founder of Quantum Art.
IYK recapped its journey so far in a blog and outlined future plans. IYK specializes in providing near-field communication (NFC) chips that can be integrated into apparel and various products. Moreover, they offer the infrastructure to connect these items to blockchain tokens or NFTs.
This technology allows individuals to scan a connected item, such as a t-shirt, cap, or toy, using their smartphone, thus accessing a tokenized certificate of authenticity. This certificate can also serve as an access pass to digital content and communities.
IYK has already collaborated with well-known traditional brands like Adidas, Atlantic Records, Billionaire Boys Club, and Johnnie Walker, as well as cryptocurrency-focused brands like Coinbase, MNTGE, Pudgy Penguins, and 9dcc.
For instance, Adidas released a limited run of 512 tokenized t-shirts for the NFT NYC convention earlier this year. IYK’s NFTs were used to verify the authenticity of each shirt, adding one of eight digital “Alter Egos” to each piece. MNTGE employs IYK’s technology to pair customized vintage jeans and jackets with digital counterparts that may have future utility in online environments.