Christie’s, the leading British auction house founded 256 years ago in 1766, announced Monday the launch of a new venture fund called Christie’s Ventures. According to the announcement, the company’s venture arm will focus on “‘Web3’ innovation, art-related financial products and solutions, and technology to enable seamless consumption of art.”
Christie’s Ventures will foster “Web3 innovations, art-related financial products”
UK auction house Christie’s has revealed a new venture fund aimed at supporting “emerging technology and fintech companies.” The company plans to work in unison with the startups in its portfolio to accelerate growth and push Christie’s in innovative directions.
“Christie’s Ventures will begin by exploring three broad categories,” the companyannounced on July 18.” They are “Web3″ innovations, art-related financial products, and solutions and technologies that enable seamless consumption of art.”
Christie’s, with offices in London, New York, and Hong Kong, is the second largest in auction sales, behind Sotheby’s and above auction houses Phillips and China Guardian.
Christie’s has been into digital currency and blockchain solutions for some time: in September 2020, the auction house sold its first ever bitcoin artwork when Christie’s announced its “Portraits of a Mind” block 21 The following year, the auction house sold the first ever bitcoin artwork.
The following year, the auction house accepted bitcoin (BTC) for a painting worth $6 million. The painting was created by Keith Haring and sold at Christie’s “20th/21st Century” sale in London.
For some time now, Christie’s has been auctioning good non-monster tokens (NFTs) and was also the auction house for Beeple’s “Everyday” auction. This NFT sold for $69.34 million. Christie’s also handles auctions of NFTs for Cryptopunks, Meebits, and Bored Ape, as well as full sets of NFT Curio Cards.
In addition to Christie’s, auction house competitors Sotheby’s and Phillips have also stepped into the crypto and NFT space. As far as Christie’s new venture arm is concerned, the auction house’s first portfolio company is a startup calledLayerzero Labs.
According to Christie, “Layerzero is a cross-chain interoperability company with a strong vision and business model in a broad addressable market. The company reduces friction in clients’ ability to move assets between blockchains.”
Christie’s press release highlights that the company has been involved in innovation for years and is one of the first international auction house companies to offer online auctions.
“Christie’s multi-site auction live streaming, augmented reality tools, NFT digital art support, and award-winning digital marketing make the business more accessible and resilient,” the company said Monday.
“As a global leader in the art market, Christie’s has both the incentive and the responsibility to innovate and deepen the experience for our customers,” Ben Gore, Christie’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.” The intersection of technology and financial products is becoming increasingly relevant and pervasive, and we strongly believe in the opportunities ahead.” Gore added,
Christes Ventures’ value proposition, which combines our brand and capital strength with our network and expertise, is another example of Christes’ powerful advantage.
Christie’s followed the launch of “Sotheby’s Metaverse” will launchin October 2021 and featureartists such as Paris Hilton following the platform’s launch. Devang Thakkar, newly appointed global head of Christie’s Ventures, believes the auction house is in a good position to provide growth for technologically innovative ideas and startups.
“Our leadership has provided an excellent vantage point. With the launch of Christie’s Ventures, we will be able to grow even faster with entrepreneurs who have an outstanding track record of building great products and companies,” Thakkar said during the announcement.
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