Story Protocol, which is developing what it says is an open system for extending intellectual property through online collaboration and paying any number of contributors, announced that it has raised more than $54 million in funding.
The funding was led by a16z crypto, part of venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, along with investors including Endeavor and Samsung Ventures.
Story Protocol says it is an intellectual-property platform “optimized for the internet era,” that “aims to democratize IP creation through a global and extensible IP repository.” The company said its framework manages the entire lifecycle of IP development, enabling features like provenance tracking, licensing and revenue sharing. Applications built on Story Protocol “give writers and artists the ability to track their work’s provenance, allowing anyone to contribute and remix while capturing the value of their contributions,” according to the San Francisco-based startup.
Story Protocol hopes to team with third-party developers to provide services including crowdfunding, capital formation, IP discovery, licensing, authentication for AI content and community engagement.
“In a world of total abundance catalyzed by generative AI, blockchain technology presents the perfect solution for transparent provenance tracking and fair attribution,” Story Protocol co-founder Seung Yoon “S.Y.” Lee said in announcing the funding. “Story Protocol will usher in a new era of entrepreneurial creators and provide existing IP holders an entirely new way to engage audiences and advance their IP.”
In addition, Story Protocol announced that it has enlisted filmmaker-writer David S. Goyer as an adviser. Goyer was the screenwriter for the “Blade” trilogy (1998-2004) and “The Dark Knight” trilogy (2005-2012) and was the showrunner for the Apple TV+ series “Foundation.” He also has worked on gaming titles such as “Call of Duty” and virtual-reality project “Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series.”
“I envision a future where creators will wield greater control over their IPs, extend their influence on a global scale and cultivate direct connections with their community,” Goyer said in a statement provided by the company. “Story Protocol marks a new era for the entertainment industry and the start of a new ownership model for creators and fans.”
In addition to a16z, Story Protocol investors include Hashed, Endeavor, Samsung Next, dao5, Insignia Venture Partners, David Bonderman (founder and chairman of TPG Capital), Si-hyuk Bang (founder and chairman of HYBE/BTS), Paris Hilton’s 11:11 Media, CH Kim (CEO of Krafton/PUBG), Kyung In Jung (CEO of Black Label), Wattpad co-founder Allen Lau and Eva Lau’s Two Small Fish Ventures, Alliance DAO, Foresight Ventures, Mirana Ventures, Balaji Srinivasan, Nicolas Berggruen, Charlie Songhurst, David Lee (SLVC), Sanghun Kim (former CEO of Naver), Chang Kim (founder of Tapas) and Roham Gharegozlou (founder and CEO of Dapper Labs).
“Artists and fans are integral to any successful IP franchise, and Story Protocol will power platforms that allow them to participate in the creative process,” commented Ben Enowitz, senior VP, corporate development and talent ventures at Endeavor. “Technology cannot replace authentic, human creativity — but it can bring communities together to unlock the full potential of existing and new IP.”
Story Protocol’s three founders are Lee, who previously founded mobile serial fiction platform Radish (acquired in 2021 by Korea’s Kakao Entertainment for $440 million); Jason Levy, who led content at Episode, a popular storytelling app; and Jason Zhao, who served as a product lead at Google’s DeepMind, translating AI research into customer-facing applications.
Other execs at Story Protocol include Weilei Yu, who previously led growth for Flow blockchain at Dapper Labs; Leo Chen, founding VP of engineering at Harmony Protocol and former tech lead at Amazon; Ben Sternberg, most recently CFO of Radish Media who previously co-founded Fexy Media; and Susan Park, who served as a design lead at Google where she led the company’s first Web3 patent filings.
Pictured above (l. to r.): Story Protocol co-founders Seung Yoon “SY” Lee, Jason Levy, Jason Zhao
- Story Protocol, Startup Developing Open IP-Collaboration Platform, Raises $54 Million+ From Investors Including a16z and Endeavor
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