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10 June 2022 Alumni

The young French start-up, which has created a plethora of NFT collections for numerous brands, is striving to reweave the link, often distorted, between the latter and their respective communities. A "disintermediated" approach that Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, CEO of Arianee, explains to Coins.fr.

 

Promised certain death when he enters the labyrinth to confront the terrible Minotaur, Theseus owes his salvation only to the ingenuity of Ariadne, daughter of the king of Crete Minos, who urges him to unwind a thread along his journey so that he can easily make his way back. It is this episode, which figures prominently in the pantheon of Greek mythology, that will prompt Arianee (pronounced "Ariani") to refine and chisel its offer based on a relationship that cuts through the middlemen and other obstacles to build a "unique" path in which brands and their customers meet directly.

 

It sometimes became impossible for certain brands to have direct contact with their users because there were too many intermediaries and layers," says the manager, an entrepreneur at heart - "I've always been one, at least since I left business school," he adds. The latter, accompanied by Frédéric Montagnon, who presided over the destiny of Teads, then sketched out the contours of Arianee's offer.

 

The importance of pedagogy and support

 

"We have, as of 2018, created the open source layer of the technology, in this case an open multi-chain protocol in the Ethereum environment (EVM). Then we set up an association to manage this protocol, and we started inviting brands to participate," explains Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel. The foundations were laid and the first partners came on board (Moncler, IBM, Mugler, Breitling), but the pair quickly realised that it would be difficult for brands to fully take on the protocol. We are now in 2020 and, as an additional element that hinders the progress of the project, there is a health crisis, containment and the entire planet is under lock and key.

 

"During this period, we perceived that brands were not yet fully ready to understand our protocol. That they needed more. Just as, at least at that time, investments in tokens were not favoured by investors either," says the manager. The immobility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic will nevertheless have "the merit" of pushing Arianee to the limit and showing creativity, pushing the company to model tools to help brands fully understand its offer.

 

"Arianee steps up her game"


"We have packaged our entire offering by building tools that completely ignore the blockchain. By paying a licence fee, the brand has complete freedom to mine NFTs, distribute them and not deal with the transactions. The graft seems to be taking hold to the point that Arianee is carrying out its first seed round in March 2021 for an amount of around €8 million. "A mix of tokens and equity. Those who invest in the company buy Aria-20, the native token of our protocol," explains the manager.

 

A first success that would lead to others, because a few months later, the subjects of web3, NFT and the metaverse literally imposed themselves on the public debate, pushing back the boundaries of their original ecosystem. These themes are omnipresent, offering Arianee an additional window of opportunity to "beef up its game" and its offer. "We started by offering brands the opportunity to 'tokenise' physical objects. In this case, to create a 'digital double' of a particularly expensive object such as a Vacheron Constantin watch," explains the director.

 

This was followed by a broadening of tokenisation capabilities by allowing brands to launch their own collection of NFTs that are not linked to any physical product or work. Then, to move towards so-called "community" NFTs that allow to exacerbate the feeling of belonging to a community or a group. In addition, Arianee assists brands in their choice. "Not everyone is able to do this. We have to guide them and remain reasonable and realistic.

 

Call for a "truly decentralised" internet


Digging its own furrow, Arianee took off even more during the first quarter of 2022, culminating in a $20 million fund-raising round orchestrated by Tiger Global, in which all the previous funds "went back into the pot". Is this enough to satiate the ambitions of the young company? Not really, Arianee is continuing its offensive and has (very) high ambitions. "We want to revolutionise the way in which relationships between brands and their audiences are organised on the internet. And thus work towards the emergence of a truly decentralised internet, respectful of personal data and where people are in direct contact," enthuses the entrepreneur, who also sets no limits on conquering new markets.

 

"We are targeting all brands, all users, all over the world. Initially, we want to make a success of our original sector, luxury/fashion, and then explore other sectors," smiles Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, who is ready to discover new lands and build new paths.

 

Interviews by Samir HAMLADJI

Coins.fr

 

 

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