This an exciting time for creatives everywhere because new applications for technology applications are creating an unprecedented space for innovation and engagement, and Portion is one of those companies. This digital auction house is built on Ethereum and IPFS and creates direct access between artist and collectors. This method provides artists with a new way to digitize their media assets and a new form of liquidation. Moreover, this blockchain network ensures that art and collectibles can be authenticated and verified.
AlleyWatch sat down with CEO Jason Rosenstein to discuss raising funds for his startup and the natural connection between blockchain and art.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Our seed round recently closed for $5.5M from 15 different investors.
Tell us about the product or service that Portion offers.
Portion is being built to provide everything needed to auction both digital and physical artworks and collectibles using cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. We pitch ourselves as a “Decentralized Auction House Built on Ethereum and IPFS.”
About two years ago I built a prototype that verified the authenticity and tracked the provenance of a Rolex watch. Essentially, I had connected physical goods to the blockchain which I always saw as a legitimate use case for the new technology.
How is Portion different?
Portion will do for the luxury art-and-collectible space what eBay did for more affordable collectibles in the late ‘90s.
What market does Portion target and how big is it?
The entire Arts & Collectibles market is currently worth $2T globally.
What’s your business model?
For purchases of physical goods done with Ether (a popular cryptocurrency) we will charge a small fee. For all purchases done with Porti (a cryptocurrency we are launching), there will be a 0% fee.
Why is the blockchain well suited to power a marketplace like Portion?
By writing smart contracts on the blockchain we can create a safe and secure marketplace. Funds are held in decentralized escrows until both parties agree to terms.
What was the funding process like?
The funding process was very exciting. The amount of enthusiasm, guidance, and positivity from our investors keeps us steadily moving forward.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge was spreading a thin amount of capital for an extremely long time. Capital began to represent time.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Portion is working in a very innovative and new space that blends the physical and the digital. It fascinated investors in how we are using this mentality to build the auction house from scratch.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We will launch the first platform for digital art and engage with well-known artists.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Prepare for the worst, and always have a backup plan for your backup plan.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are expanding our team and getting ready to launch the first platform in October.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
My favorite restaurant is Iris Cafe in Brooklyn.