The world-renowned auction house Christie’s has launched its venture capital arm, which is set to focus on Web3 projects. Christie’s Ventures’ first portfolio company is the cross-chain interoperability firm LayerZero Labs.
Christie’s, the world-famous auction house, has launched a new fund called Christie’s Ventures, Monday’s press release said. The fund will focus on fintech and emerging technology related to the art market—and it’s kicking off with an investment in Web3.
The fund’s first investment is in LayerZero Labs, the cross-chain interoperability company behind the Stargate omni-chain bridge. The press release said that LayerZero “sits perfectly on the spectrum” the fund will focus on. Specifically, Christie’s Ventures will explore Web3, art-focused financial products, and technologies that help people consume art.
Devang Thakkar, Christie’s Ventures Global Head, said that the fund would focus on “services which can solve real business challenges, improve client experiences, and expand growth opportunities, both across the art market directly and for interactions with it.” LayerZero co-founder and CEO Bryan Pellegrino added that Christie’s established itself as “a pioneer” in Web3.
Christie’s is broadly recognized as the world’s premier auction house. It was founded in London in 1766 and has since opened offices in dozens of locations worldwide. In 2017, it sold Leonardo da Vinci’s long-lost “Salvator Mundi” painting for $400 million – the highest price ever paid for a painting at an auction.
Though the announcement didn’t specifically reference NFTs, Christie’s Ventures will likely make its investments considering the hot digital collectibles market. Christie’s memorably hosted the auction for Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” NFT in March 2021, making headlines worldwide when it sold for over $69 million. The art institution has since auctioned off high-value NFTs from sought-after crypto artists and collections like CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Justin Aversano, and FEWOCiOUS. In 2021, it sold more than $150 million worth of NFTs as the market boomed.