Last week, Shawn Mendes became the latest and biggest artist to launch a line of digital goods in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Mendes partnered with Genies, a company that makes 2D avatars, to design virtual versions of some of his most identifiable accessories, like his signature Fender guitar, gold ring, and embellished vest from his touring closet. The planning for that project lit a fire under his manager, Andrew Gertler — who seemingly fell down the crypto rabbit hole and is now involved in a new NFT marketplace called STURDY.exchange.
Gertler’s AG Ventures partnered with, and is leading an investment round for, STURDY., the pre-existing creative direction and design firm in the music business that’s worked on a variety of visuals for Drake, Travis Scott, and others. Gertler is now an advisor at the company, which is in the process of raising a seed round for its STURDY.exchange.
“There are a few different marketplaces at this point,” a source close to the situation tells Rolling Stone. “There’s Nifty, which focuses on the high end, and OpenSea, which acts sort of as an ‘Amazon of NFTs,’ available to all — but none of them have preexisting business and also creative relationships with the musicians like STURDY.”
STURDY.exchange has been in the works for “multiple months,” according to a Tuesday press release. The release also points out that it comes “on the heels of other recent non-fungible token marketplace successes such as Nifty Gateway, the leader NFT art drops for some of the worlds foremost digital artists, recently grossing upwards of $3 million per drop, NBA TopShot, a collectibles marketplace for NBA fans that has generated over $200 million in transactions, and others.”
“Over the years, STURDY. has been fortunate enough to partner and collaborate with incredible creatives across the spectrum of music and entertainment,” the company wrote on Instagram, announcing the news on Tuesday (March 2nd). “Our new platform offers one of a kind collaborations that allow fans and collectors alike to own a piece of history and connect with the world’s leading artists.”
STURDY. founder Tyler Henry tells Rolling Stone: “The STURDY. team is beyond excited to have Andrew’s skills and expertise in our corner. We have been friends and supporters of each other for years, and ‘STURDY.exchange’ is the first of many exciting ventures we are working on together.”