Tensor, a Solana-based NFT trading platform is raising $3 million in the form of a seed round which was led by Placeholder. The team exclusively disclosed this to TechCrunch.
The company was founded by Ilja Moisejevs as well as Richard Wu, bringing a total of 10 years of experience working on trading infrastructures and data-intensive systems. Prior to that, Tensor was bootstrapped off approximately $60,000-$70,000 of prize money from 2 Solana hackathons that took place in 2022. Moisejevs disclosed.
Tensor raises $3M for its Solana-focused NFT trading platform
“We’re basically trying to determine the next meta that will be used for Solana NFTs,” Wu stated. “A number of the things that have been created in Solana is a carbon copy from Ethereum and we believe that Solana NFTs are significantly more.”
The investors who participated in this seed round are Solana Ventures, Alliance DAO, Big Brain Holdings, and Solana co-founders Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal as well as others.
Tensor began raising capital in the wake of FTX falling into decline, Moisejevs said. The majority of the funds came from angel investors or from customers who use the platform “since the beginning,” he added.
“Going through the process and towards the end, we weren’t really in need of the cash because at the time, we were earning some costs,” Wu said. “We recently crossed the threshold of $1 million in our annual run rate and are three-person which means that we’re covering more than our expenses, and then some.”
Solana is the third-largest blockchain for NFTs by volume of sales, having more than $3.7 billion in annual sales according to data from NFT aggregate CryptoSlam. Over the last 30-day period, Solana NFT sales volume decreased by 47.7 percent, which was $76.5 million, as the figures revealed.
The platform geared towards trading offers sophisticated features such as integration with TradingView with collection-wide bids as well as market-making requests, Wu shared. The platform was launched in private beta mode in June of 2022, and it was opened to the public the following month. Since it was launched, Tensor has grown to more than 30,000 active users per month and has traded more than $6.6 million worth of NFT volumes, Moisejevs said.
What’s interesting about Solana NFTs as well as NFTs generally the fact that, despite the macroeconomic environment, there’s enthusiasm in the market and this is a sign NFTs isn’t a trend and there’s something in the space,” Wu said. “For us, we’re hoping to create the infrastructure for trading and the technological infrastructure for NFTs moving forward. We believe that this will be the future trillion-dollar asset class, and we’d like to provide the rails of financial trading for it.”
In the last few months, the Ethereum-focused NFT marketplace Blur caused a bit of controversy within the community when it introduced the 0.5 percent creator royalty which is so minimal to many that some see it as virtually nothing. The small amount was the catalyst that led the other big NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea to change their fee structure in order to offer no-cost trading in exchange for the duration of a “limited period of time” and minimal royalties for creators or else risk losing larger market share.
While Blur is a component of the Ethereum NFT ecosystem, Tensor hopes to become a “similar but distinct” variant of Blur within Solana. Solana marketplace, Moisejevs said. The Solana-focused platform has also experimented with the possibility of committing to a fixed 1% creator royalty for every trade, Moisejevs said. Of the one percent, a majority, or 0.9 percent will go to the creator while 0.1 percent goes to Tensor.
Since then, it’s changed to a “fully enforced royalty standard” and a few collections have been migrated however, the co-founders anticipate approximately 80 percent of collections to be in agreement with the standard within the next three months. The platform also announced an incentive program on Monday. It will offer incentives as well as “boxes” that have NFTs within them for community members, in addition to others, Wu said.
“In web3 your customers are your partners. You must be able to align them financially, emotionally and in a variety of manners,” Moisejevs added. “We’ve observed in the other ecosystem participants and big marketplaces that they’ve failed to accomplish this because they’ve stepped into web3 with a mentality that they’re trying to take value from customers…We would like to be the complete opposite and build the product which is owned and operated by its community.”