Why I Invested: Mack Maine on investing in emoji and NFT startup Yat

Why I Invested: Mack Maine on investing in emoji and NFT startup Yat
Why I Invested: Mack Maine on investing in emoji and NFT startup Yat

Almost everyone loves emojis to express themselves via texting and instant messaging apps. And lately there are some technicians who want to make money from them.

Co-founded by entrepreneur Naveen Jain, Yat is the company behind a new type of online identity called “yats”, a unique combination of emojis that act as a custom emoji identity, domain, username, NFT and collectible all in one. Yats is designed to give users the ability to own their online identity independently of companies like Meta and Google. A one to five character design costs anywhere from $4 to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The shorter and more memorable the combination, the higher the price, usually.

Almost 160,000 yachts have been sold for a total of 20 million dollars since last February when the company was launched. The highest price paid for a yat was $425,000 for the one-character key emoji.

Like the NFT wave earlier this year, Yat is attracting a number of celebrity investors and promoters. Among them is rapper and songwriter Mack Maine, who recently shared more Fortune about his decision to invest in the company.

  • Startup: Yeah
  • placement: Nashville
  • Founded year: 2021
  • Valuation: Declined to disclose
  • Investment level: Declined to disclose
  • Number of employees: 80
  • Other major investors: Blockchain Capital, Collab+Currency, G-Eazy, Hack VC, Lil Wayne, Slow Ventures, The Roots

Why he invested, in his own words

I got involved with Yat shortly after its launch in early 2021. I thought the concept was ridiculous and immediately locked Yats to me, Lil Wayne and Young Money. Everyone uses emojis to communicate and this is a great way to use emojis to communicate who we are.

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Over the years we have established the brands Young Money, Lil Wayne and Mack Maine. Yat is a great way to extend and reinforce brand identities online where people can associate with our brands visually. Emojis help tell stories, and there’s no other way to communicate so much with just a few characters.

Ownership is important to us and we now own these emoji identities forever. It means a lot. Empowering all creators to have a self-expressive way to own and control their identity sold me on investing. On top of that, Yat is building incredible new tools for web3 creators and assemblers.

This is part of Why I Invested, a series featuring famous investors from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what inspired them to invest their own money in a new business.

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