Marcy Venture Partners (MVP) invests in 24 year-old technologist Iddris Sandu’s impact-driven tech incubator: spatial LABS (sLABS). The multi-tiered partnership between MVP and sLABS will explore the unlimited possibilities at the intersection of tech, culture and humanity.
sLABS first endeavor is the launch of LNQ; an innovative, state of the art blockchain-enabled hardware platform. LNQ aims to make the metaverse more accessible and provide creators with decentralized tools to engage with their communities through LNQ’s proprietary, real-time processing stack.
The relationship between JAY-Z and Sandu has been one in development, with sLABS previously collaborating on Augmented Reality partnerships with Beyoncé’s Ivy Park, Nipsey Hussle’s The Marathon Clothing Store, Rihanna’s Fenty line and Kanye West’s Yeezy, each of whom have collaborated with JAY-Z throughout their multi-hyphenate careers.
“Iddris has a conscious world view and a youth centric vision that is innovative and refreshing to witness. We share similar parallels in how we imagine impacting people in our lifetime. Partnering with him on this journey and others is very exciting.” – JAY-Z
This investment comes during a time of strong growth within the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.
“JAY-Z has always been at the forefront of cultural evolution and identifying the next leaders. Aligning with Marcy Venture Partners assists with our vision for elevating the youth as it relates to access and a means to true technological empowerment. The lasting impact of this relationship is not simply defined by the work we’re doing now, but by the immeasurable impact for generations of creators to come.”
– Iddris Sandu
A Ghana-native, Sandu was raised in Southern California and was always poised to be an agent of change and innovation. Since the age of 13, Sandu has been collaborating with leading global companies, such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Adidas, Nike and many others.
In addition to being a technologist, Sandu’s entrepreneurial skills are equally astute in his ability to connect with multi-generational moguls and bring them together.
In 2019, Sandu was the recipient of the Thiel Fellowship; a two year program founded by Silicon Valley veteran Peter Thiel, one of the earliest investors in Facebook, PayPal, and SpaceX . Sandu shortly after founded halt LABS (an early sister entity to sLABS), a city infrastructure and transportation corporation that has garnered the attention and funding of impact-driven investors like NFL Professional Bobby Wagner, Ron Burkel of Yucaipa Companies, NBA veteran Anthony Tolliver, Marcy Venture Partners, and Scooter Braun of Raised in Space – a VC fund backed by Ripple (XRP).
Smart Rental – Smart Devices Subscription Provider Receives 1.1 Million USD in Equity Crowdfunding
HAAS ASIA SDN BHD with brand name Smart Rental, a smart subscription business has successfully raised RM 4.6 million (1.1 million USD) from 177 investors in just one month, vastly exceeding its minimum target amount by more than three times.
This project was facilitated by Malaysia’s leading equity crowdfunding (ECF) platform, MyStartr, which was approved by the Securities Commission (SC) for the Malaysia Co-Investment Fund (MYCIF), which is a fund that co-invests in ECF and peer-to-peer campaigns with a ratio of 1:4. MyStartr aims to raise funds for 5,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by 2030.
A previous crowdfunding at MyStartr platform from February to April of 2020, Linear Channel Sdn Bhd a subsidiary of Haas Asia Sdn Bhd has successfully raised RM1.33 million which far exceeded their original target of RM500,000.
Commenting on the funding achievement, chief executive officer of Haas Asia Sdn Bhd, Joshua Chin Tong Lim said, “our campaign with MyStartr reflects the successful business model recognized by the market. It is an important step in the company’s growth, and we are very grateful to have investors who believed in our growth and potential.”
Smart Rental was first introduced to the market based on a Haas (Hardware-as-a-Service) service provision model (integrated Credit, Services, Exchange into monthly subscription service). This business model has been validated by multiple panels of business experts at the 2019 Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest, where it won recognition as one of the Top 10 best business models; Pitch Selangor 2019, where it achieved the same result; and 2020 Golden Bull Awards, as an Emerging SMEs Award and last but not least, The Lang Titanium Award for The Best Use of Technology. Smart Rental offers 12 or 24-months PC subscription packages at different price points, encompassing the following services: the right to use the PC, regular maintenance visits and software upgrades, repairs and exchanges, and free PC model upgrades upon contract renewal. On average, Smart Rental customers save 87% on the PC purchase cash outlay and 55% on maintenance and services.
Offer a solution to overcome the computer needs
The smart subscription model accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. “Many work-from-home (WFH) and Smart Rental caters to all consumers and SMEs that prefer to get electronic products with worry-free maintenance service for free,” Joshua Chin explained. Within a year, over 1100 subscription contracts have been issued, with a total value of RM 5.2 million. Smart Rental will soon launch its CSR computer crowdsourcing initiative under the brand name Sambong Future, an initiative to connect B40 students to a sponsor thru its contractual giving/gifting.
Smart Rental is also developing a digital engineer platform which will accelerate the maintenance service nationwide and upcoming are Smart Centres across the country with its first outlet opening its doors in Mid Valley. By 2040, it is expected to have more than 50,000 subscribers.
About Smart Rental
Smart Rental is run by Linear Channel Sdn. Bhd, a company that started by refurbishing and reselling second-hand PCs under the brand name BuyNow. The Company diversified into the short-term PC rental market around 2010 and HaaS solutions for PCs in 2019. The Haas model is in high demand as consumers are currently more reliable on devices for learning and getting work done. With this, consumers enjoy similar solutions only previously offered by companies to serve large companies and government agencies. Smart Rental is well-positioned to capitalise on the demand.
SOURCE HAAS ASIA SDN BHD
Virtual Reality Startup HIKKY Raises 6.5 Billion Yen In Series A Funding Round
Virtual reality (VR) startup and organizers of the largest VR event in the world HIKKY Co., Ltd. announced today that they have raised 6.5 billion yen ($57 million) in an initial stage of their Series A funding round. They are considering an additional funding stage this round and plan to maintain autonomy following this funding.
The capital raised will help expand HIKKY’s virtual reality services both domestically and abroad, as well as to strengthen their organizational foundation. These services include the Vket series of VR events, the browser-based VR engine called Vket Cloud that runs on smartphones and computers and developing and operating an open metaverse using Vket Cloud.
HIKKY advocates for an open metaverse where users can:
- Interact with each other beyond the bounds of platforms
- Communicate and explore in an open world format
- Deploy original content on their own domains
- Access VR easily from any device with no app needed
“Here at HIKKY, we will accelerate our metaverse business with the help of communication infrastructure, research institutes, and global networks of NTT DOCOMO, INC. and NTT Group,” said Yasushi Funakoshi, HIKKY’s CEO. “We will continue to provide NTT DOCOMO with XR services, technologies, and content production as per our strengths. We are extremely grateful to all the creators who have supported us, as well as the visitors and companies who have taken part in Vket events.”
HIKKY develops its own proprietary VR engine called Vket Cloud, which is used to create metaverse content that users can access with a simple link click, without a dedicated computer or mobile application. It also supports multiplayer mode, and users can enjoy communicating with others in the same space with voice or text chat.
The startup also runs the largest event series in VR, called Vket. Thousands of artists, many international corporate sponsors, and millions of users visit these events. Vket has become a major player in the VR event space and has received awards, including the VR Awards’ Marketing Grand Prize in 2020, Japan’s XR Creative Awards’ Overall Grand Prize in 2020, and two Guinness World Records in 2021.
Netrush Acquires Sellozo, AI-driven martech company supporting billions in transactions
Netrush, the eCommerce accelerator partnering with premium brands providing teams, technology, strategy, and infrastructure to thrive on Amazon, has acquired Sellozo in a deal believed essential for supporting today’s digital-first brands.
Sellozo is an AI-driven Amazon PPC software platform engineered to support, automate and optimize global growth, for sellers and vendors across the North American, European, and Asia-Pacific markets.
Netrush will build on the current Sellozo success of innovating to maintain a best-in-class automated ad platform and create new value for existing partners, whilst generating benefits for Sellozo clients in supply chain, creative, data analytics, finance, brand protection and more.
Netrush CEO and Co-founder, Brian Gonsalves says, “The days of blind investment and paying a share of spend are over. With the acquisition of Sellzo alongside our current demand-side-platform advertising, creative and supply chain capabilities we have a truly integrated platform. Marketers can now use the Netrush platform for a full funnel view including brand building, new customer acquisition, repeat customer experience, in-market PPC efficiency, in-the-box experience and loyalty. It is a win-win for all involved.”
Sellozo CEO, Nic Delorme adds “Sellozo saw an opportunity in the market for greater effectiveness in advertising spend while increasing the transparency and accessibility for enterprise brands, as well as the growing number of successful seller entrepreneurs. Joining Netrush is a catalyst moment – combining our teams will spark a flurry of innovation and enhancements to both platforms, resulting in a comprehensive world class ecommerce growth platform.”
Gonsalves concludes “The ecosystem of ecommerce services is highly fragmented. A truly integrated advertising approach needs to work seamlessly with profitability, inventory availability, multi-channel data, and customer lifetime value data. The speed of decision making and the dollars required mean that advertising can no longer be managed off to the side. When advertising actions are continually assessed through transactions then advertising investments can be assessed alongside the many effective levers for growth. Brands need to know where to spend the next dollar of investment and verify the effectiveness of that investment.”
Netrush is an online retailer that partners with premium brands to provide the teams, technology, strategy, and infrastructure needed to thrive on Amazon and other e-commerce platforms. With headquarters in Vancouver, Washington, and processing facilities in Kentucky and Canada, Netrush provides a full suite of capabilities ranging from supply chain to creative services that make brands stand out across the shopping journey.
Sellozo is a platform that enables Amazon sellers and agencies to automate and improve the profitability of Amazon product advertising. The platform includes a machine learning algorithm that determines and sets the optimal bid for every keyword and target every day based on a Target ACoS goal. Every day Sellozo executes over 500,000 bid updates on behalf of their customers and manages over $20M in ad spend every month.
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