Mythic Markets just raised $2 million in seed to build a fractional ownership market for rare collectibles

Mythic Markets, a young, San Francisco-based fractional investing platform for fans, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Slow Ventures, with participation from Third Kind Venture Capital, Global Founders Capital and others.

The company is being led by co-founder and CEO Joseph Mahavuthivanij, who previously spent a couple of years as an associate with the seed and early-stage fund Social Leverage.

We can see why it piqued the interest of investors. Mythic is capitalizing on the broader trend of fractional ownership that gives numerous investors a piece of the same — hopefully appreciating — asset. The idea dates back 50 years or so to vacation timeshares, but it has picked up momentum of late, with startups asking potential customers to buy parts of new cars, homes, art, sneakers and even virtual items.

For its part, Mythic is focusing on pop culture collectibles, starting with an Alpha Black Lotus, a trading card that only fanatics of the game “Magic the Gathering” might recognize but is apparently worth $90,000 right now. (Mythic, which opened up the card to investors last week, has divided its ownership into 2,000 shares, 663 of which have been purchased.)

Mahavuthivanij says Mythic will next offer a collection of five “Magic the Gathering” booster boxes circa 1994 and that it has other assets it plans to acquire shortly off its balance sheet. “There’s just a huge secondary market for this stuff,” he says enthusiastically. “It trades like stock. You can watch the daily moving average of any card.”

To be on the safe side, Mythic only offers securities that are regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which not only includes rare trading cards but also other things that Mythic plans to start selling next year, including vintage comic books, sci-fi memorabilia and, a little further afield, esports team equity. Investors needn’t be accredited, but neither can they invest more than 10% of their income or net worth in an offering.

It’s little wonder that Mahavuthivanij co-founded the company. He’d earlier become tangentially familiar with Rally Road, a Social Leverage portfolio company that sells to investors stakes in classic cars, and wondered if he couldn’t apply a similar idea to one of his great personal passions: card collecting.

In a way, it’s payback to an unfair universe. As a kid, Mahavuthivanij collected limited-edition “Magic the Gathering” cards, assembling a collection that he thinks would have been worth $1 million today — but that was stolen from a car in 2002. As he began trying to reassemble his collection, he came to appreciate how much the market had changed and how richly priced some of the cards had grown, including those that weren’t reprinted outside of English.

As he saw investment-grade cards soar further in value and out of his own reach, he couldn’t help but notice that on the secondary markets, the same trends were quickly elevating the prices of other industries like comic books, where one Wonder Woman comic book produced in 1941 sold for $1 million in 2017, a record amount. (The buyer was presumably inspired in part by “Wonder Woman,” the movie starring Gal Gadot, which had come out just three months earlier.)

Whether Mythic can start throwing off real money is a giant question mark, as it is with most two-year-old companies.

It does have additional revenue streams in mind. Namely, the company also expects to eventually feature a premium subscription model that offers early access to collectibles on its platform, opportunities to attend fan club appearances and opportunities to see special assets made available to the company at shows like Comic-Con and elsewhere.

It’s also chasing a growing market, one where there isn’t much hard data to quantify its size but that’s known to be more profitable than the traditional toy market because there aren’t manufacturing costs and prices are typically higher — sometimes by a shocking amount.

On the other hand, the collectibles market is highly sensitive to the disposable income of its investors, which may well shrink if a recession begins to take shape, even if they are buying bite-size stakes.

It’s also the case that a growing number of younger collectors are satisfied with digital images of what they like, rather than the actual items, a kind of sub trend that’s largely driving crypto collectibles — unique digital assets that can bought and sold and sometimes swapped between players in gaming environments.

Naturally, Mahavuthivanij — who is running Mythic with three other co-founders plus several other part-time contractors — thinks Mythic can change and grow the market for people who do care about hard assets by divvying up their ownership. If enough potential investors gravitate toward the idea, he might be right, too. We’ll stay tuned to see what happens.