Toronto-based startup Haloo (formerly Heirlume) has raised $2.9 million CAD ($2.3 million USD) in all-equity, primary seed funding in a round co-led by The W Fund and The51.
Launched in 2020 by co-founders Julie MacDonell (CEO) and Sarah Ruest (CTO), Haloo uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide users with instant trademark searches, fail-safe trademark applications, and automated brand enforcement.
“It’s a complete game changer for enterprise marketing and legal teams, and we’re building out our sales into this market with the funding.”
According to Haloo’s spokesperson, companies pay for these trademark searches with a very slow turnaround. By using Haloo, the company claims that users can cut down on cost, and improve quality and ideas that can be run in batches of 10 with a 60 second turnaround.
Both The W Fund and The51, two women-led venture capital (VC) funds focused on investing in woman-identifying and gender-diverse founders, have previously used Haloo’s services for trademarking. The W Fund was also an earlier investor in Haloo.
Other participants in the seed round include Prosus and Inovia Capital, as well as Web3-focused investors, such as Hashed VC and 2 Punks Capital. Ethan Song, co-founder of Frank and Oak, also invested in the financing round.
Haloo’s total funding to date is at around $4 million USD, which includes its past $1.7 million raise last year with contributions from MaRS IAF, Backbone Angels, Future Capital, and Angels of Many. Haloo previously announced the $1.7 million as a seed round. However, when the $2.9 million CAD financing was raised, the company told BetaKit that they now claissfy the $1.7 million as pre-seed, and noted that the $2.9 million was raised at a higher valuation.
Haloo also secured $150,000 in financing from Ottawa-based SheBoot boot camp, which it completed in 2020. SheBoot is a four-week boot camp hosted by Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa, and is designed to prepare women-identifying entrepreneurs to pitch their business and secure investment.
In addition to working with e-commerce brands and other companies, Haloo said its AI-powered technology is also being used to prevent intellectual property (IP) infringement across NFT marketplaces. With Web3 and NFTs tied to IP, the startup said that trademarks are more important than ever. “We’re certainly seeing a large volume of NFT-related applications for trademarks going into the [intellectual property offices], especially the [United States Patent and Trademark Office]” a spokesperson for Haloo told BetaKit.
As the NFT space is seeing a boom, so has the amount of theft and fraud associated with it, as reported by Vice. The outlet reported that NFT marketplace OpenSea revealed 80 percent of the items created with its NFT minting tool were “plagiarized works, fake collections, and spam.”
With IP infringement becoming a larger problem in Web3, Haloo said that IP verification is the key to solving it, just as it’s the key to solving the web2 e-commerce marketplace counterfeit problem.
Backed by almost $3 million in fresh funds, Haloo intends on expanding throughout the United States, and to build out distribution through integration partnerships.
Image from OpenSea.