The world’s largest auction house is starting its own in-house venture-capital firm, Christie’s Ventures.
Amid strong art market, the auction house plunges into tech startups at a time when other venture capitalists are pulling back
The world’s largest auction house said it is starting its own in-house investing firm, Christie’s Ventures, and will aim to supply seed funding to young companies whose technologies could ultimately help collectors buy and sell more art, mainly digital
Tweet on Christie’s going digital
@WSJ finds that World’s largest auction house is starting its own venture-capital firm, @ChristiesInc Ventures!
Christie’s is set to launch a venture-capital arm very soon!#digitalart #NFTs #Newshttps://t.co/OArV3zanuy
— The_Journalbiz (@the_journalbiz) July 18, 2022
Christie’s move comes as the recent crash in crypto and the broader selloff in tech stocks have compelled traditional venture-capital firms to pull back from risky bets on startups.
Christie’s, which recently reported strong sales, said it plans to invest at least several million dollars in multiple startups in the coming weeks. The company said it has already invested an undisclosed sum into one Canadian startup, LayerZero Labs, that seeks to help people spend or move their digital assets like cryptocurrency across disparate blockchains.
Christie’s is seeking companies, potentially capable of solving problems that have long impeded the art trade. Mr. Thakkar said these could include technologies designed to help resolve authenticity disputes and track and catalog art owners more efficiently.
*Christi’s tweet on global art sales
Christie's announces £3.3 B/$4.1B in global sales for H1 of 2022, our best performance since 2015. Totals are +34% in GBP/+18% in USD higher than H1 2021, including the most expensive 20th Century artwork ever sold at auction: Andy Warhol's 'Shot Sage Blue Marilyn.' (1/3) pic.twitter.com/7ruTHpTFYJ
— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) July 12, 2022
Christie’s $69 million sale of artist Beeple’s digital collage in early 2020 proved a wake-up call for the auction house to pay closer attention to the intersection of art and technology
- Christie’s said its investments will extend beyond the realm of NFT art, sales of which have shriveled lately.
- Christie’s own sales of NFTs fell from $93.2 million during the first half of 2021 to less than $5 million during the first half of this year.
Other tools include those to more safely store and sell digital assets such as art-carrying NFTs, or nonfungible tokens that act like digital receipts.
Image: Christies inc