Dirt Raises $1.2M Seed Amid Web3 Push

Dirt, the entertainment and culture newsletter that became one of the first newsletters to fund itself solely using NFTs alone, raised a $1.2 million seed round, its publisher Kyle Chayka told Axios. and its editor Daisy Alioto.

Why is this important: Most media companies that rely on Web3 technology operationally also cover Web3. Dirt aims to be one of the first native digital media companies to leverage Web3 technology, but does not exclusively cover Web3 topics.

  • “It’s a path to having a media brand that operates more outside of the streetwear fashion playbook,” Alioto said.
  • She noted that for traditional media companies, building a community usually means sending mugs or tote bags to supporters. Web3 creates pathways for a super-fan of a mainstream media company to be hyper-engaged.

Details: The $1.2 million seed funding was led by Collab+Currency, alongside Offline Adventures, Flamingo DAO, Spice Capital, Unicorn DAO and Matt Hackett. These investors are joined by previous angel investments from Workweek, David Phelps and Jad Esber.

  • Chayka notes that having DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, alongside other web3 groups as investors is critically important because “they really understand the philosophy of decentralization and see the value term of cryptography”.
  • With the money, the team plans to invest in more Web3 projects, including selling more NFTs and expanding DirtDAO, its community of token holders who get exclusive access to Dirt content.

Rollback: The Dirt team worked with Mirror, a crypto platform, to create NFTs which they used to sell and fund their daily newsletter over the past year.

  • To date, the team has achieved over $100,000 in NFT sales.
  • NFT buyers have received “DIRT” tokens that give them special access to exclusive content.

The big picture: Dirt aims to pave the way for traditional media companies looking to break into the Web3 space.

  • “It helps us see what might work for the media,” Chayka said. “It could broaden the appeal of NFTs, web3 and crypto with what we already cover, which is digital content and broader entertainment.”
  • “It’s important for us to be among the first to really define what that can look like and do it with a lot of integrity,” Alioto said, noting his and Chayka’s editorial experience.

Be smart: The crypto business model for media is highly relevant as medium-sized publications are squeezed out, Chayka noted.

  • Over the past few years, many media companies have consolidated, creating digital behemoths. In response, many journalists have struck out on their own, creating smaller, independent publications through platforms like Substack.
  • While some mainstream media companies, particularly Time Inc., have invested heavily in Web3 technologies, others have just started to launch, selling a few limited NFTs, mostly on a trial basis.

And after: Dirt is planning its next big NFT drop later this year.

Go further: Journalist creates the first NFT-funded newsletter

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