Web3 art platform Wild raised a $7 million seed funding round led by Matrix Partners.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin also took part in the round, which closed late last year, said Wild founder and Chief Executive J. Douglass Kobs in a written interview with The Block. The startup declined to share its valuation.
Kobs said that he and Paltrow became friends after meeting at a leadership summit in 2021, adding that she's an "early adopter" of web3 and NFTs.
Kobs, who previously founded proptech firm Apartment List, is aiming to create a platform where artists building with blockchain can be supported while fans and collectors can easily access creator-made collections. Part of this includes the Wild Residency, an application-based virtual residency program where artists are paired with advisers over 12 weeks for a crash course on creating NFT art. At the end of the program, the artists release collections, sold via auction on the platform.
"Expecting an artist to be able to do it all on their own is a lot — from creating the work itself to promoting it, marketing it, branding it — there’s so much that goes into creating work and being able to leverage the experience, knowledge and network of fellow artists is invaluable," said Kobs, noting that those new to the space can find it overwhelming.
Along with the residency, Wild offers an NFT membership pass named Wild Oasis which grants holders early access to artist drops and auctions at fixed floor prices. While 399 of those 1,000 passes have been minted so far, the first 300 were distributed to artists taking part in its inaugural residency cohort, advisers, investors and the founding team.
The startup will use the funding to further build out its residency and invest in infrastructure to power its experiential art. Many of Wild's collections can be accessed through in-browser experiences without needing to connect a wallet.
NFT art revival?
Wild's funding round comes at a time when investor interest in the NFT art market is showing some signs of recovery. Between Feb. 19 and Feb. 26, close to 18,000 art and collectible NFTs were sold on the Ethereum blockchain, according to data collected by The Block Research. While that's a far cry from its peak in the final week of August 2021 — when close to 30,000 pieces of NFT art were sold — it's a significant improvement over the final quarter of last year when weekly sales barely tallied 7,000.
The rebound could also have been influenced by floundering floor prices of key NFT collections, no longer able to garner the high price tags they once did during the bull market. CryptoPunks are currently trading hands at an average weekly sale price of around $86,000 compared to a peak of just over half a million, according to The Block Research.
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