Fuelarts, the New York based Art and Tech accelerator, has just recently held a demo to showcase its first cadre of start ups and to consider the potential for NFT and blockchain projects in the Venture Capital (VC) market.
In all, four companies were chosen for the first accelerator program. One company from the first cohort, digital marketplace V-Art, raised $150K. Furthermore, 2 others , Artherium, an NFT inventory app, and Sarturn, a GameFi platform for Gen Z art investors were awarded $50,000 kick start grants by Fuelarts.
The company was launched by former Christie’s COO Roxanna Zarnegar and serial entrepreneur Denis Belkevich. The idea behind the accelerator is to span the gap between Art and the new NFT and blockchain technology by incubating new startups. In September alone Fuelarts collected $500,000 from generous funders.
Denis Belkevich, CEO and founder of Fuelarts says that the large auction houses and dealers started paying more attention to the rise of NFTs and blockchain in the Art World due to Covid 19 restrictions. He states, “One prime example happened recently, when Sotheby’s invested $20 million in Mojito to create a metaverse destination for NFTs,” he added. “With art market players getting involved too, we’re seeing a lot of excitement around Art+Tech from institutional investors and the VC world.”
The potential for high returns on successful launches has not gone unnoticed by VC funds. Fuel Arts investment partners at Amadeo Global VC fund are one. Katya Kohen, managing partner at the Fund points out, “Historically, traditional art would only generate 3-5 percent IIR (internal rate of return). But for Art+Tech startups like the ones Fuelarts presented today, we’re looking at a return above 25 percent,”.
The objective of Fuelarts accelerator is to become a company builder VC, with the purpose of helping start ups in the NFT and blockchain tech space to build a business model that can shift focus as demands in the market change. Roxanna Zarnegar, Fuelarts’ co-founder, and board member believes that businesses that include blockchain related smart contracts and NFTs offer the potential for the highest returns for investors.
She opined, “I think starting about seven years ago, and until now, Art+Tech took the lens and zoomed out away from building marketplaces, looking instead into all the other different facets,”
As part of Fuelarts undertaking to its investors, there will be a report released in January of next year. The focus of the report is to be on the challenges and opportunities relating to Art and NFT Blockchain technology. Moreover, it will include analysis of the startups already in the Accelerator, plus existing and future investing opportunities. Additionally, there will be interviews with leaders in the NFT art space and forecasts for the year.
Finally, there will be an announced later in the year in relation to the next set of start ups to be incorporated into the Fuelarts Accelerator.
The New York-based accelerator aims to make the art market more efficient, transparent, and accessible. Fuelarts was launched by former COO of Christie’s Americas, ex-Senior VP of artnet.com, and adjunct faculty member of Sotheby’s Institute of Art Roxanna Zarnegar, and serial Art+Tech entrepreneur, Sotheby’s Institute graduate, and art economist Denis Belkevich. The accelerator provides tools to support founders of Art+Tech startups experienced in finance, development, supply chain and more.