With their startup Fuel, four Berlin founders want to make it easier for artists and their fans to access the NFT market. It seems well-known investors are great.
They want it to be easier to buy and set up NFTs. The startup Fuel from Berlin is especially aimed at artists. Csongor Barabasi, Thanh Binh Tran, Stefan Tietze and Patrice Deckert are building something along the lines of a “Shopify for NFTs”.
Because NFTs are a big deal at the moment, it’s not surprising that the company has found a prominent group of investors for its pre-seed round: Founders and business angels Lea-Sophie Cramer and Verena Pausder are both involved, as is Bitstamp. -CTO is involved. David Osojnik and Indeed founder Paul Forster. In addition, several VCs have joined, such as the New York-based FintechCollective (including a shareholder in Opensea, the largest virtual marketplace and trading venue for NFTs to date), the London-based venture capital fund Seedcamp (investor in Sorare, Hopin and Revolut) and Notion Capital with its pre-seed vehicle Pioneers. A total of 1.5 million euros was raised in this way.
In continuation of this round, the company announced a few weeks later that rappers Cro and Bausa and his record company Two Sides are also investing in Fuel. With the new investors, the start-up will not only secure additional money, but above all direct access to the music and entertainment scene, it reads in an official announcement. “I’ve been looking at the NFT area for a long time and am convinced of the potential, not only for the music industry, but also for the other areas of the creative economy,” rapper investor Cro is quoted as saying.
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. It is a kind of digital certificate of authenticity that turns digital works of art into unique originals. Yes, there can be thousands of copies of a digital image, for example, anyone can copy and paste the image on their Twitter profile – but only one of the images has the original digital code. The principle also works for music files, so there can be a single original of a recording.
NFT market: Enormous growth potential
Just over a year ago, the subject really took off in the former analogue and rather dull art market. Suddenly, it is possible to label original works of art by more and lesser-known artists as such and sell them at similar prices.
According to the industrial media Dappradar, NFTs worth $ 23 billion were traded worldwide in 2021. By 2020, it was still $ 95 million. Great artists like Damien Hirst in the arts or Steve Aoki in the music industry get involved in the NFT world. The auction house Sotheby’s has already found its way into trading digital art as NFTs.
To make it easier for artists to offer their artwork for sale as NFTs, the four Berliners from Fuel have launched a platform that allows creators to create, manage and expand their NFTs using a wide range of tools.
Fuel is already working with Tomorrowland DJs Mat.Joe, according to an official funding statement. How exactly this collaboration looks like, what further plans the startup is pursuing, and how the founders assess the German NFT market, they have not yet wanted to comment on a request from Gründerszene.
This article was originally published on March 30, 2022 and was updated to include funding from rappers Cro and Bausa.