Digital art platform raises £3.5m in series A funding round

From left: Andy Gray, David Moore, James Morgan

A Manchester-based NFT (non-fungible token) platform has closed a £3.5m series A funding round to expand its services in the art world.

The round was led by crypto venture capital firms GBV and Sanctor Capital on behalf of KnownOrigin.

KnownOrigin was launched in a Manchester basement in 2018, and is an artist-driven NFT platform that makes it easy for creators to authenticate, showcase and sell the digital artwork they produce.

Its aim is to empower creatives the world over to monetise their craft and engage with their fan base of collectors.

It was one of the first NFT art platforms to launch and in the past year it said it has generated more than $30m in sales and has seen a ten-fold increase in unique collectors and creators.

Co-founder, Andy Gray, said: “In 2018 we wanted to give creatives a more transparent way to sell their work. Fast forward to today and we’re working with over 5,000 creators who are selling NFTs to collectors around the world.”

To expand its reach the company has sought investment from blockchain innovators, crypto investors and prominent community members in the NFT space.

KnownOrigin co-founder, David Moore, said: “We approached our funding round with care, seeking out investors who share our vision of helping digital creators monetise their craft. The £3.5m raised will be reinvested into the business to further support artists in the space going forward.”

Fellow co-founder, James Morgan, said: “Funding will enable KO to not only grow and innovate, but to build the ecosystem we envisage.

“NFTs have bloomed in the last year and there is danger of pushing space into bad habits that linger from the Web 2 world. We want a permissionless, transparent, fair thriving ecosystem where creators and collectors can engage in culture excellence and experience.”

Ilya Abugov, co-founder and partner at Sanctor Capital, said: “We are incredibly excited about the future of KnownOrigin.

“David, Andy and James are true missionary founders who really care about the creator community. They understand the challenges in the space and have the vision and technological prowess to make a difference. We can’t wait to see what the team has in store.”

Since setting up, KnownOrigin has partnered with brands such as Adidas, Netflix and Adobe, as well as creating a new royalties system that ensures independent artists instantly receive royalties every time their work is sold.

It regularly hosts events around Manchester, showcasing both local and international talent from the NFT world. It recently brought the first NFT presence to Manchester Art Fair, showcasing a selection of artists’ work and explaining how to join the NFT space.

The Series A funding round involved participation from Cultur3 Capital, D1 Ventures, MetaCartel Ventures DAO, LD Capital, Pluto Digital and NFT advocates Future Arts, Colborn and Yin Cao.