Photography is a growing market within the NFT industry, and Justin Aversano has helped lead the movement with his increasingly in-demand Twin Flames project. Now Quantum Art, the Ethereum-based NFT platform that he co-founded last fall, has raised a Series A round to onboard even more creators and expand its focus beyond photography.
Today, Quantum Art—which Aversano co-founded with Kris Graves, Alexx Shadow, and Jonas Lamis—announced that it has raised $7.5 million as part of a Series A round led by True Ventures via partner and noted NFT enthusiast, Kevin Rose.
“True Ventures is thrilled to lead this investment round in Quantum,” Rose told Decrypt via an emailed statement. “We believe that community building tied to curation of diverse artists is a key to unlocking digital culture. We think that the Quantum team has positioned themselves to be a leader in Web3.”
Additional participants in the round include NFT creator and investor Gary Vaynerchuk—who also owns two Twin Flames pieces—as well as the NFT-centric Flamingo DAO. Additional unnamed art collectors and NFT personalities also took part, per the organization.
✊ Drop #016 Stranger Fruit by Jon Henry ✊
The Quantum Curation Team is thrilled to announce Stranger Fruit by Jon Henry as our next curated drop. This is a 59 piece dutch auction, starting at 1 eth and resting at 0.25 eth. @WhoIsDaMaster https://t.co/AAJ5xwlRcB pic.twitter.com/prVZ9Fcn0I
— Quantum Art (@QuantumNFT) February 2, 2022
Lamis told Decrypt that Rose began talking to the team right when Quantum Art launched during NFT.NYC 2021 last November. Quantum Art planned to raise its Series A sometime in the first half of 2021, following its $1 million seed round last year, but Lamis said that Rose “dropped a term sheet on us” the following day after discussing Quantum’s future.
“One word got out that we were raising, a bunch of other people wanted to participate as well,” said Lamis. “And so we had an opportunity to loop in our other favorite investors and NFT collectors in the community, and friends of Quantum who also joined in the round.”
Quantum Art was inspired by popular Ethereum generative art platform Art Blocks—which has generated well over $1 billion in trading volume to date, per CryptoSlam—albeit with an initial focus purely on photography. The platform has launched projects from photographers such as Graves, Amy Elkins, Erica Simone, and Alberto Rizzo to date.
“The first few months have been focused on the community and connecting collectors to the best artists,” Aversano told Decrypt. “It’s been extremely rewarding to see the two come together and explore this new industry.”
An NFT works like a receipt or a deed of ownership for a unique digital item. Photography is one use case for NFTs, along with digital artwork, profile pictures, music, video game items, and more. The wider NFT market exploded in 2021, generating some $25 billion worth of trading volume, according to DappRadar.
Quantum Art launched on the back of Aversano’s own rising star in the photography space, with his Twin Flames collecting amassing fans like Vaynerchuk.
In October, Aversano sold a Twin Flames NFT alongside a set of physical prints for $1.1 million at a live Christie’s auction, topping the sale prices of work from the likes of Ansel Adams and Diane Arbus. Aversano had previously sold a Twin Flames piece via Sotheby’s as well.
Quantum Art began exclusively with curated drops chosen by the core team, but it has recently expanded to bring in work from photographers chosen by the community. Like Art Blocks, Quantum now has multiple collection tiers between its Curated and Community brands.
While photography is Quantum Art’s big hook for now, Lamis sees the platform’s unique approach to drops—with most projects featuring between 50 and 100 distinct NFT images, each dropped randomly to buyers—as another key differentiator. Quantum is now looking to expand beyond photography into other artwork formats, all while maintaining that curated drop style.
Demand for photography NFTs has grown even since Decrypt profiled Aversano back in October and explored the rising market. Isaac “Drift” Wright’s “Where My Vans Go” collection has received significant attention lately, for example, with pieces selling for upwards of 60 ETH ($187,000) each in recent weeks.
Quantum Art’s own curated collection has generated more than 1,500 ETH (over $4.7 million at present) in secondary sales, per OpenSea. Aversano said that he’s seen “exponential growth” in the photo NFT space and expects further momentum ahead, with Quantum Art offering a way for creators to enter the space—and for collectors to discover a diverse array of work.
“I fully expect this to continue in 2022,” said Aversano, “as more artists and collectors become aware of the power behind NFTs, and how lives can change for the better.”