Franklin, a project developed internally at Web3 marketing firm Serotonin, has raised a $2.9 million seed round. The project’s backers include crypto notable Arca, and the round was co-led by Gumi Cryptos Capital and CMT Digital.
Franklin provides a tool for firms to make payments to employees and contractors in crypto, across the world, including the U.S. The project, which is built on the Ethereum mainnet and scaling solution Polygon, offers tools to automate payroll expenses and tax filings for a selection of cryptocurrencies.
“Payroll is one of the more complex types of financial transactions to solve in a crypto-native way,” Franklin CEO Megan Knab said in the release.
Serotonin CEO Amanda Cassatt said she green-lit the project after hearing from several of their public relation boutique’s clients about the need for crypto payroll options – calling the decision to build Franklin a “no brainer.”
Serotonin has developed at least three in-house projects that have been or will soon be spun out as separate companies. Franklin’s seed round followed the apparent success of Mojito, a non-fungible token (NFT) back-end system used by Serotonin's clients which were beginning to explore the Web3 economy – notably including the legacy auction house Sotheby’s.
It’s a strategy that seems to be working for Serotonin, which has not taken on debt or sold equity to outside investors though offers employees partial ownership stakes, Cassatt said in an interview. Mojito had $120 million in sales revenue in its first 12 months operating, although traction has since dropped off in the bear market. Similar data was not made available for Franklin.
The third spin-off project has not been officially announced but involves the “creator economy” and tokens, Cassatt said. Franklin, for its part, plans to use its recent funding to expand into retirement accounts and health benefits. Its clients include Soul Wallet, Echooo and Alto, according to the press release.
Because Serotonin works closely with crypto clients to develop long-term marketing and business strategies, as well as venture capital firms that fund many of Web3’s largest projects, the firm sees itself as well-placed to identify basic operational tools that need to be built, Cassatt said.
See also: Payroll, Web3 and the $62B Opportunity | Opinion
Crypto could be taking lessons from traditional finance (TradFi) by creating existing services for a smaller market. Whether crypto firms need another crypto payment tool is an open question, but at least with blockchain the world should be able to judge the relative success of a non-custodial, on-chain system such as Franklin.
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