Spatial Labs, a Web3 startup, has raised $10 million in an early fundraising round led by Blockchain Capital and supported by Marcy Venture Partners, the venture capital firm founded by billionaire rap singer Jay-Z. The new round takes the startup’s overall capital to $14 million when joined to Spatial’s $4 million pre-seed financing deal.
The LNQ One Chip, created by Spatial Labs, is a 13-millimeter microchip that can be sewn or placed into real-world clothing. Near-field communication (NFC) technology allows a smartphone to scan each chip, disclosing the object’s information and creating a digital replica for wearability in the metaverse. There are numerous options for marketers to contribute information or unique content to a chip’s metadata because each physical chip is connected to just an NFT on Polygon.
Iddris Sandu, a 25-year-old Ghanaian-American entrepreneur, founded Spatial Labs in 2019. Sandu discussed his goals for the hardware startup in an interview with Decrypt.
About his LNQ chip technology, Sandu has numerous suggestions. For starters, he wants consumers who purchase physical goods with the chip to quickly and easily obtain a digital version of the same product for use on metaverse platforms without having to purchase the same thing twice.
“We think our approach is going to create much more of an equitable metaverse,” Sandu told Decrypt. “If you look at economies of scale, people don’t have the luxury of buying things twice repeatedly.”
Furthermore, he discussed how LNQ could offer authentication services for high-end labels like Gucci, Balmain, and Prada, all of whom already have metaverse plans.
Deleting Fast Fashion
Although Polygon, a sidechain, or Ethereum both use 99.998% less energy than they did previously, Spatial Labs’ company is focused on issues other than Blockchain sustainability. Spatial aspires to increase the sustainability of the physical fashion sector in addition to bridging the physical and digital fashion worlds with their product.
As per Sandu, offering sustainable goods at reasonable rates is the only way to tackle the sustainability issue in fashion.
“The conversations around sustainability are very—I don’t want to necessarily say classist or elitist—but it still feels like a 1% conversation,” he said. “We haven’t gotten to a space where those sustainable products are equally within the same price range as those that are not.”
“Being eco-friendly is not a luxury statement,” Sandhu stated.
Additionally, Sandu’s hardware liberates Spatial Labs from the constraints of software stores like Apple’s, which have restrictive developer guidelines on NFTs and Web3 components.
About the NFC chip, Sandu noted. “Our chip technology is not dependent on, you know, an Apple App Store approval or anything; it works out of the box, you don’t even it doesn’t even require you to have an app installed to access some of the metadata and brands can customize that to their liking,”
Jay-Z and the Barrier-Breaking
Being one of the very few founders of the color of a hardware-focused startup, Sandu thinks he is in a particularly enviable position. Since there is little historical precedent for potential investors to draw from when making important decisions, he believes that many VCs’ investment theses are “heavily skewed” and “totally biased” toward hardware startups like his.
“We’re not just making a funding announcement and going back to work,” Sandu said. “We’re going to continue breaking down these barriers that exist.”
According to Sandu, their initial connection was “a perfect harmony.”
“Jay is like a big brother, but also like a good friend, but also an investor,” Sandu said. “Me and Jay have a great business relationship.”
He revealed that he and the musician, who has received 24 Grammy Awards, regularly exchange ideas and have a similar outlook on how to have an influence.
“I trust that more people will be able to see this unconventional way of approaching business and be inspired by it to know that’s what it looks like for me because as much as I love, like, Silicon Valley VCs, I can only relate so much because the culture is so different,” Sandu said.
“There’s such a huge divide.”