Brevan Howard Digital co-leads $4.8 million round for NFT fraud detection startup Yakoa

Yakoa, a California-based NFT fraud detection startup, has raised $4.8 million in a seed funding round. 

Brevan Howard Digital, Volt Capital and Collab+Currency co-led the round, with Uniswap Labs Ventures, Alliance DAO, Orange DAO, Time Zero Capital, Sunset Ventures and others participating.

Yakoa was founded in February by two high school friends, Andrew Dworschak and Graham Robinson. Dworschak studied and researched artificial intelligence and intellectual property at Stanford University and discovered that his research could be applied to the NFT space.

“The entire blockchain space needs to be more user-centric,” Dworschak said in an interview. “We need to put additional tools in place that actually protect the users.” 

Yakoa has a SaaS business model and serves web3 platforms, giving them a map of where copies of their content are surfacing. The startup says it has already indexed NFTs across major blockchains and analyzed them with AI technology to catch fraud before it reaches the consumer. 

Yakoa is not the only NFT fraud fighter in the industry. Optic and Doppel are two of its closest competitors, who both recently raised funds — $11 million and $5 million, respectively.

Yakoa aims to mainly serve three types of clients: NFT marketplaces, hosting entities such as metaverse platforms and brands, although its initial focus is on the first type of clients, Robinson said in the interview. NFT marketplace aggregator Genie, which was recently acquired by Uniswap Labs, is one of Yakoa’s clients. 

With the fresh equity capital in hand, Yakoa plans to increase its team size, Robinson said. There are currently less than 10 people working for Yakoa, and the firm plans to increase its headcount to around 20 in the near term, he added.

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