Blackbird Labs confidently announced a remarkable achievement on Wednesday, securing $24 million in a series A funding round led by the prestigious venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The cutting-edge app and loyalty program, designed to seamlessly connect restaurants and customers through its crypto-powered platform, operates on Coinbase’s Layer-2 Base blockchain.
Revolutionizing the dining experience, Blackbird allows customers to effortlessly create a non-fungible token (NFT) membership by simply tapping their phones on a near field communication (NFC) reader. This innovative approach not only enhances user engagement but also ensures a unique and personalized experience for patrons. The NFT is minted as users “tap in” to the restaurant, unlocking a plethora of rewards and exclusive perks such as off-menu items and an SMS concierge service, as highlighted in the official press release.
The CEO of Blackbird, Ben Leventhal, a co-founder of the renowned dining network Resy, has brought unparalleled expertise to the project. The notable absence of the term “crypto” in a recent feature by the New York Times underscores the mainstream appeal and broad recognition that Blackbird has achieved. This funding round, spearheaded by Andreessen Horowitz, not only validates the platform’s potential but also positions Blackbird Labs as a major player in the intersection of dining, technology, and blockchain innovation.
Flypaper and $FLY tokens
Fueling Blackbird’s revolutionary dining experience is a robust blockchain infrastructure and a commitment to decentralization. Diners are not only treated to exceptional hospitality but also have the opportunity to earn $FLY tokens, a fungible digital currency. The “Flypaper” on Blackbird’s website provides insights into the intricacies of this innovative system.
Positioning itself as the pioneer in decentralized platforms tailored for the hospitality industry, Blackbird distinguishes itself from conventional rewards marketplaces that confine earned points. The Blackbird protocol aims to break these constraints, allowing users to seamlessly transfer their points across various public blockchains.
In a strategic collaboration with Privy, Blackbird eliminates the barrier of requiring users to possess a crypto wallet beforehand. A simple sign-in with a phone number automatically grants access to a user-friendly self-custodial wallet.
Since its launch a few months ago, Blackbird has successfully onboarded approximately 80 restaurants in New York City. Arianna Simpson, General Partner at a16z crypto, emphasized the transformative potential of Web3 in fostering a novel and more meaningful connection between restaurants and their patrons.
This development unfolds amid various companies grappling with the challenges of sustaining engagement in rewards-based systems utilizing NFTs. Blackbird’s confident strides in this space position it as a trailblazer, harnessing the power of blockchain to redefine the dining experience.