NFT-focused Fund Finds Parallels to Traditional Venture Investing

Blockworks exclusive: Spencer Ventures raised $4.5 million earmarked for NFT investing in the bear market


Source: DALL·E


key takeaways

  • Investors hail mostly from Chicago and the Midwestern US
  • “Being liquid in an illiquid market is how you get the best deals,” says Spencer Gordon-Sand

Spencer Ventures, a crypto fund focused solely on NFTs, has decided to come out of stealth mode after receiving a multi-million dollar check from a family office with $10 billion in assets under management.

Blockworks spoke to the founder and fund manager, Spencer Gordon-Sand, about what it takes to raise a fund aimed at institutional investors in the bear market.

At the height of the bull market in November and December of last year, Gordon-Sand advised his investors to sell a lot of their portfolio and wait for the right moment to buy back in. 

Spencer Ventures founder Spencer Gordon-Sand

Now the 30 unique investors, hailing mostly from Chicago and the Midwestern US, have collectively put up $4.5 million, he said.

Anchoring the group is an investor pitching in a hefty percentage which, a source familiar with the deal told Blockworks, is likely the venture capital arm of the Chicago-based Pritzker Group.

Institutions looking to increase their digital asset exposure are turning to NFTs, Gordon-Sand said, while most of the top funds, such as those from Grayscale or Galaxy, only offer exposure to ether or bitcoin.

“NFTs for me are the first really compelling thing outside of the core technologies of Ethereum and Bitcoin, where I’m seeing people build real companies and create real value,” distinct from other alternative cryptocurrencies or DeFi, he said.

Gordon-Sand added that he’s seen an appetite for the venture angle of crypto-native companies — NFTs and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) — from the institutional family office space, investors who may have difficulty finding avenues to deploy capital.

Working in the startup and venture capital world for the past decade, Gordon-Sand eventually became partner at the VC firm Lofty Ventures. There he founded a venture syndication practice aimed at accredited investors who are curious about angel investing.

“One of the reasons [institutions] invested in me,” Gordon-Sand said, “is because they actually don’t want to deal with holding these assets on their own balance sheets” due to the increased in-house and legal taxes that most family offices have.

Gordon-Sand’s cosmic Moonbird

So far, Spencer Ventures has deployed only 20% of the total capital since the Q2 market downturn. He waited for a post-Merge market to deploy the rest of the cash, which remained in USD.

Gordon-Sand’s biggest skill appears to be timing. His biggest purchases include a rare cosmic Moonbird NFT, bought three hours before the project’s parent company, Proof Collective, made a $50 million funding announcement at the end of August.  

He also bought a laser-eyed Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT for 133 ETH. He said that he used ether purchased at $1,227 after Wednesday’s Fed meeting, putting the total at around $163,000. 

Gordon-Sand’s laser-eyed Bored Ape

Laser eyes are one of the rarest traits for a Bored Ape and, during the bull run, they tended to trade at three to five times the price floor. Gordon-Sand bought his when the floor was 70 ETH, while currently the cheapest BAYC NFT on OpenSea is going for 80 ETH. 

He also bought “a bunch” of Mutant Ape Yacht Club and other BAYC NFTs during the BendDAO liquidation scare.  

The CryptoPunks in his portfolio were purchased “for the culture.”

“People see me buying Punks, know that I have liquidity and message me when they want to sell interesting grails that are harder to move,” Gordon-Sand said. (Grails is slang for a sought-after item.)

The Spencer Venture strategy is to look at highly liquid collections to enter and exit. By taking mostly larger positions, he treats the company like a venture capital fund.

“That’s the cool thing about NFTs. It’s kind of like a venture investment, but you can actually trim positions, manage liquidity differently and manage risk actively,” Gordon-Sand said.

He compares the market capitalization of NFTs to that of private market valuations of startups. Yuga Labs, for example, was valued at $4 billion after its March funding round — a valuation usually seen by public companies. 

NFTs are relatively illiquid, but that can be a feature to take advantage of, Gordon-Sand said.

“Being liquid in an illiquid market is how you get the best deals,” he said, adding that “in bear markets, the multiples on value for rare assets over floor assets compress, which I see as an opportunity for someone with a longer time horizon as I have.”

This story was updated on Monday, Sept. 26, at 11:52 am ET.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

MON - WED, MARCH 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience:  Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats  Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts   Grow your network […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Frax report cover.jpg


Frax saw continued development in its frxETH liquid staking derivative and Fraxlend money market throughout 2023. Frax V3 introduces an RWA strategy to drive utility to the protocol's cornerstone product, the FRAX stablecoin.


As of Wednesday, the US government had seized Sinbad’s website


Cross-chain protocol’s product development-focused unit Wormhole Labs formally launches following $225 million raise


Accredited and non-accredited investors worldwide will be able to purchase the Note starting Dec. 6 on US-regulated trading platform INX


Bitcoin’s next halving is less than five months away. History says they’re bullish but will this time be different?


Merger is set to allow the combined business to “flex between our different lines of business,” Hut 8 CEO says


Agency’s decision to start comment window earlier than expected could be bullish for spot bitcoin ETF approval in January, industry watchers say