Miami Tech & Startup News

One year after landing in Miami, Ariana The Techie raises $3.3M seed round for fine art NFT marketplace

One year after landing in Miami, Ariana The Techie raises $3.3M seed round for fine art NFT marketplace

Mueshi will host Miami’s first NFT fine art exhibit in June alongside the platform’s launch

By Riley Kaminer

It was August 2021, and Ariana Waller was on a trip to New York. She was going through a rough patch, trying to figure out her path in life, but she found New York inspiring. In particular, as a budding art collector, she felt energized by New York’s vibrant art scene as she visited the city’s many museums and galleries.

While at MoMA, she started to talk to a curator about how they find art and was humbled to learn about the various problems they face. Later, she listened to Jay-Z’s 4:44 album, in which the rapper talks about investing in art as a tool for building long-term wealth.

Thus, the idea for what would become Mueshi was born. Ariana Waller, who is better known by her nom de plume, Ariana The Techie, has developed Mueshi as a platform for users to buy, sell, and fractionally invest in NFTs. This marketplace will be open for users on the Etherium and Solana blockchains in June.

While New York may have been the original source of inspiration for Mueshi, Miami has been the launchpad for the startup’s success thus far.

At the React Miami conference last week, Ariana announced that Mueshi has raised a $3.3M seed round led by Harlem Capital. Other participants include Presight Capital, CapitalT, Ted Lucas of Slip-n-Slide Records, and Miami-based serial entrepreneur and investor Alexandra Wilkis Wilson. 

Additionally, the six-person startup reports having assembled an entourage of investors and advisors from globally-recognized art institutions including the Guggenheim Museum and Miami’s Pérez Art Museum.

“Miami played a role 100,000% in our fundraise,” Ariana told Refresh Miami. “Miami is a perfect, well-rounded place,” she continued. “Here, you have a better quality of life as a founder and are surrounded by inspiring people.”

Ariana first came across Miami through the Twitter hype. But she was really lured to the Magic City to take part in the first Miami OnDeck program. This was followed by her joining the HF0 software engineering accelerator from Lucy Guo of Backend Capital. By then, the Atlanta native was sold on South Florida and left Michigan, where she had been living for a few years. Previously, Ariana had worked in and started a variety of startups ranging from cannabis to skincare, on top of undertaking internships at Honda and GE Aviation.

“Miami has two bulls in town,” she said, referring to herself and the new 3,000-pound sculpture unveiled at this year’s Bitcoin Conference.

And the arrival of both in Miami is a clear signal of our city’s Web3 prowess. Nicole DeTommaso, Senior Associate at Harlem Capital, asserted in a tweet that “Ariana is 1 of 4 Black women who have raised over $1M in Web3.”

Alongside the launch of Mueshi’s platform in June, the startup plans to put on Miami’s first-ever fine art NFT exhibition. The 30-day event in Wynwood will showcase work from local emerging artist Mark “ALT” Delmont, who recently displayed his work at Soho House and has worked with brands including Scotch & Soda and Trader Joe’s.

Ariana hopes that her success can be a source of inspiration for others. This starts with her name, Ariana The Techie, which she said “came from wanting to inspire more women to be software engineers in the blockchain space.”

“I pitched to 75 investors in a span of five days,” she said. “It wasn’t until the 55th pitch that I got my first yes.”

“That takes a lot of grit. But you have to have faith in what you’re doing. Your company can make a difference in the world regardless of whether the world believes in you.”

Mueshi is hiring for a wide range of roles, including Product UX/UI Designer and Social Media manager. Check out their careers page to learn more.

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Riley Kaminer