The world of NFTs is never dull — as long as the money never stops. While investors continue to pour billions into the sector, albeit at a slowing pace, more crypto buyers are spinning up funds to back NFT platforms, projects and the non-fungible tokens themselves.
While dedicated funds solely devoted to NFTs as an asset class are starting to pop up, it’s still a risky space for the bigger institutional firms. That’s not stopping those investors from becoming LPs in the NFT funds themselves, though. A number of prominent Silicon Valley crypto VCs have backed a new upstart NFT fund led by Andrew Jiang and Todd Goldberg.
The $30 million fund called Curated is devoted to buying and holding NFT artwork. The fund is backed by a who’s who of crypto investors, with LPs including a sizable chunk of a16z’s investing team (Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon, Andrew Chen, Arianna Simpson and Jon Lai are all backers), as well as Alexis Ohanian, Justin Kan, Electric Capital’s Avichal Garg and Curtis Spencer and a host of other investors and founders in the space.
The fund plans to invest about half of the fund in so-called “blue-chip NFTs,” including popular projects like CryptoPunks, Art Blocks and Bored Apes, as well as works from popular artists selling singular NFT works. The other half of the fund is going into what Jiang and Goldberg deem as “high potential collections” from artists with smaller existing markets.
“NFT assets are what we think are going to be a really big deal over the next decade, like orders of magnitude larger than they are today, because NFTs give us a digitally native way to invest in culture at internet scale,” Goldberg tells TechCrunch in an interview. “We want to become a very high-signal collector that acquires the top assets and is also helpful to creators and builders.”
Goldberg says that the firm may also explore doing its own NFT drops, partnering with some of the artists in their portfolio.
The NFT market is still raking in billions, but the pace of investment appears to be slowing in recent weeks. In the past 30 days, the OpenSea platform has done $2.3 billion in transaction volume, a 40% decrease over the previous 30-day period, according to blockchain analysis tool DappRadar.
“The market has been frothy, however, we’re kind of entering a bear market, which is actually great for the fund as we are very patient capital,” Goldberg says. “We’ll wait for the best opportunities to enter these positions and then we’ll just hold these things long-term. Long-term, patient capital doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I think in this market where everyone is very short-term focused, it actually is a strategic advantage.”
Jiang, who is the primary manager of the fund, previously founded the hardware startup Soda Labs, as well as the YC-backed nonprofit Bayes Impact. Goldberg, who co-founded the ticketing startup Eventjoy, already has a separate fund making equity investments in startups, which he operates with Superhuman founder Rahul Vohra. A number of that fund’s portfolio founders are backers of Curated, including Dapper Labs and the founders of NFT startup Manifold.