Seattle-based Devang Thakkar is the global head of Christie’s Ventures. (Christie’s Photo)

Legendary auction house Christie’s got a front-row seat to the NFT craze.

In March 2021, the 256-year-old art merchant facilitated the sale of a collage of the first 5,000 pieces made by digital artist Beeple, which sold for a mind-boggling $69.3 million. By the end of the year, Christie’s sold more than $150 million worth of NFTs.

Not surprisingly, the auction house is now doubling down on its bet on the Web3 space, announcing a new venture capital arm. The auction house did not disclose the size of the fund, but said it will primarily fund early-stage tech startups building either a Web3 platform, a fintech company that focuses on the art market, or virtual or augmented reality tech that enhances the art viewing experience.

The venture arm will be led by Christie’s executives, including CEO Guillaume Cerutti and COO Ben Gore, along with Seattle-based tech vet Devang Thakkar, who will be the fund’s global head.

“For me, it was an interesting realization last year when we saw the NFT market boom after the Beeple auction,” Thakkar said in a video interview with GeekWire. “We had a front-row seat to some of the founders that were building amazing tech in the Web3 space, but we didn’t have a way to accelerate or invest in them. A venture arm made complete sense because we already had organic deal flow.”

The NFT market has cooled since its meteoric rise in 2021. Christie’s sold just $5 million worth of NFTs during the first half of this year, compared to the $93 million worth of sales it made during the same period last year. Despite the sluggish market activity, Thakkar says it’s actually an opportunistic time to fund startups that are …read more

Source:: GeekWire


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