Co-founder of @NFT Instagram account seeking funding for new venture

Lil Baby Openair Frauenfeld 2019 02, tags: @nft account seeking - CC BY-SA

Aaron Avruskin, one of the co-founders behind the now-banned @NFT account on Instagram, is currently seeking $6 million in investment for his new crypto venture called “Lil Baby’s Rollies.”

Decrypt reported that Lil Baby’s Rollies had sent potential investors its pitch for seed funding, an 18-page deck comprising detailed information about the upcoming crypto venture. The project, a collaboration between Avruskin and American rapper Lil Baby, centers around a crypto gambling game designed for mobile browsers.

“Before JPEGs and Shitcoins, and a world removed from the bright lights of Las Vegas and the high roller lifestyle—three dice, a patch of concrete, and a group of individuals bound by their desire for more combined to produce a game that shaped Hip-Hop culture,” the pitch for Lil Baby’s Rollies read.

In addition to a mobile gambling game, the pitch also said there would be free Lil Baby NFT drop ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 units. In addition, the creative team said it would host sponsored tournaments in the long run.

In Q2 and Q3 of the year, Rollies will use “subsequent funding” to launch a currently unnamed native token. The upcoming funding is expected to range between $10 million and 20 million. Rollies’ investor pitch did not provide further details about the token’s viability or distribution process.

The project will also launch Lil Baby’s “Cultural Fund” in its third phase later. The fund will help entrepreneurs of color with “culturally savvy business acumen and plans.”

The creator claimed that it had enlisted game developer Aquimo Sports to design the core Rollies game. Digital artist Distortedd — who collaborated with major brands like Adidas and Redbull in the past — also reportedly created art for the project. So far, both parties have not commented on their involvement.

According to the pitch, Rollies has secured several partnerships with NFT collections, including Doodles, Sappy Seals and Pudgy Penguins. These partners will promote the Rollies brand, participate in Twitter and Discord discussions and receive allowlist spots.

Surrounding controversies

Despite claiming some names as its NFT collection partners, none of the mentioned collaborators has confirmed partnerships with Lil Baby’s Rollies. A Doodles representative even said that it had nothing to do with the new crypto project.

Rollies creator has forecasted that the project can earn $16 million from NFT drops — $9 million in “sponsorship sales” and an additional $5 million from NFT trading royalties within two years.

Analysts pointed out that the common shares that Rollies offered in exchange for investment were unusual for a seed phase. They said common shares are usually offered in a Series B phase when the project is expanding.

In addition, although Avruskin uses Lil Baby’s name in the project title, the rapper has not confirmed whether he is involved in the project. Past reports suggested that Lil Baby was working on an NFT project, but it was unclear whether it was the Rollies project.

Partners’ hesitation in confirming their involvement in Avruskin’s new crypto project is likely linked to the ban of his previous NFT venture on Instagram.

Instagram banned the @NFT Instagram account — which had 1.7 million followers and a verified checkmark — in February 2022 after it was accused of posting sponsored content without disclosing those posts as advertisements. A representative from Instagram said the account would not be reinstated.

Marketing agency Urconduit CEO Eric Spivak said the Instagram account charged around $25,000 to $100,000 per sponsored post. The CEO also predicted that more than 50,000 investors had “followed them off a cliff into financial losses.”

Avruskin came forward to apologize publicly for the mishap before the permanent ban, promising that @NFT would be more transparent in the future.

The scandal also involved Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, who happened to invest in Avruskin’s other venture, Leverage Game Media. The billionaire said he was not aware of the issue because he was only an investor. Cuban’s name was soon removed from the list of investors on Leverage’s website.