The non-fungible token (NFT) art landscape is a minefield for many of the world’s top artists. According to DappRadar, NFT sales volume totalled $24.9 billion in 2021 (compared to just $94.9 million the year before) and just hit $15 billion for the month of January this year.
Several startups in Europe have jumped on the bandwagon to bridge the gap between the traditional art world and the NFT space – a gap that has limited the number of leading artists entering the space. This includes France-based LaCollection which closed a $10 million seed round and Manchester-based KnownOrigin raising £3.5 million funding in February this year.
Joining the ranks, London-based art-focused NFT startup Verse has raised $2.4 million in funding to connect collectors with top artists. The seed round saw the participation of angel investors, including Paul Forster (Indeed.com), Ben Stephenson (Impala), Michael Daffey (Galaxy Digital), Jeremy Hindle (Integrity), Nick Shekerdemian (The Venture Collective) and Venrex VC.
Founded by Jamie Gourlay and Augustinas Malinauskas, Verse was created in response to the lack of trusted sources for collectors to find NFTs by the top artists. The platform allows collectors to discover and acquire NFT artworks that have been hand-selected by trusted curators, including world-famous galleries, institutional curators, experienced NFT collectors, art experts, and other tastemakers across the arts, culture, and NFT spaces.
Verse claims to address the technical challenges faced by both collectors and artists in the NFT space through its user-friendly interface that allows the purchase of NFTs with fiat, as well as crypto, and without the need for a third-party crypto wallet.
Verse co-founder and CEO Jamie Gourlay said: “For artists, just as in the traditional art world, marketing and selling NFTs is a huge job and requires specialist knowledge and skills. It’s unlikely the world’s best digital artists will rise to the top if they also have to be world-class at web3 marketing in order to do so. We’re therefore helping artists join forces with people who really get it.”
Going forward, the startup is collaborating with twelve leading artists, curators, and creative tastemakers to launch its first selling exhibition this month.