Sesame Labs, a web3 marketing platform, raised a $4.5 million seed round co-led by Wing Venture Capital and Patron, co-founders Vinay Jain and Aman Jain exclusively told TechCrunch.
“There hasn’t been a systematic way where people can actually interact with web3 businesses,” Vinay said. “So it became clear to us that the whole marketing stack is completely missing in web3.”
The co-founders, who share a surname but aren’t related, both worked at companies like WhatsApp, Meta and Twitter. Additional investors include Samsung, DoubleJump, Forte, Moonfire, Twin Ventures and angel investors like Balaji Srinivasan, chief technology officer at Coinbase and founder of Earn; Robin Chan, co-founder of Fractal; and Ryan Spoon, chief marketing officer at Sorare.
“We want to be the company that defines what ads on web3 look like,” Vinay said. “Today, there’s a lot of companies building different parts of the marketing stack individually [ … ] but I don’t think anyone is thinking purely from a marketing standpoint and we think the right company will build the entire stack from the ground up, not just a piece of it.”
A lot of classic Web 2.0 tools like Facebook ads or Twitter ads aren’t successful in web3 because they don’t fully understand on-chain behavior, Vinay noted.
“Google Analytics don’t work because they can’t track on-chain data but you can have a web3 game where NFTs are bought on OpenSea, but Google Analytics can’t track that behavior,” Vinay added. “So the entire ecosystem of tools are broken and marketers are struggling with a lack of tools and playbook. That’s really where the current state is and we’re trying to build something to solve this over time.”
Sesame Labs’ marketing stack includes a campaign management platform, advertising network and customer relationship management tool. It also allows companies to develop targeted marketing campaigns that leverage competitor data, surface cross-channel customer insights and create in-game engagement rewards through its platform.
It is currently in beta mode with a dozen Polygon web3 games including Decentral Games, League of Kingdoms and Ethermon, Vinay said. While the first customers are gaming-focused, Sesame Labs’ client base is “any app with a web3 component to it,” Vinay added.
The capital will be used to build its team and “80% of the budget will go to research and development for the product,” Aman said. “We both worked at WhatsApp and it was known for being a lean team moving mountains; it was only about 30 people when acquired by Facebook. We want to focus on what matters and those principles will also go into our philosophy.”
In the long term, the co-founders plan to focus on defining what web3 ads look like and build the product that powers it so applications can connect with users in a more innovative way.
“For us, it’s really twofold. We want to go from a small, tight-knit community of beta customers and grow that business,” Vinay said. “In parallel, I think we have an entire stream experimenting with what new marketing tactics in web3 can look like, and that’s where our breakthrough will happen.”