- Women-led TRLab partners with artist foundations, estates and institutions to conceive and launch education-focused digital art experiences
- Co-founders Xin Li-Cohen and Audrey Ou have leveraged their experience with auction houses and contemporary art museums to pioneer gamified cultural experiences as part of a product vision that goes beyond current Web3 trends
- The new capital will be used to expand the 2-year-old company’s market presence worldwide and to launch concurrent projects with a global roster of artists, foundations, and institutions
NEW YORK, September 6, 2023 — Fine art-focused tech start-up TRLab announces it has raised US$5 million in seed round funding, led by two investment firms at the forefront of blockchain technology innovation: Hivemind Capital Partners and OKX Ventures. HashKey Capital, a digital asset and blockchain leader, also joined the round.
The successful close marks a second major fundraising round for the women-led company, co-founded by Xin Li-Cohen, a non-executive Deputy Chairman at Christie’s, and led by CEO and co-founder Audrey Ou. TRLab was incubated by Dragonfly Capital and launched in 2021, with early-stage support from major art collectors and tech entrepreneurs, including Pace Gallery, Animoca Brands, BAI Capital, and the founders of Artsy and Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum (RAM).
From its locations in New York and Hong Kong, TRLab works with artists, estates, and art institutions to conceive, produce and launch digital-first art experiences for new and established collectors. To date, TRLab’s platform has hosted projects in partnership with Vogue, the Calder Foundation, contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang, and Rhizome, the digital art-focused affiliate of New York’s New Museum. Underpinning each project is TRLab’s educational approach, which uses online learning, competitive challenges, and digital collectibles to make fine art and art history more accessible to digital-centric audiences. Using this ‘play-to-learn’ approach, TRLab has introduced participants from 60 different countries to the work of modern artist Alexander Calder, as part of a multi-chapter digital partnership with the Calder Foundation that continues into 2024.
The new capital will be used to on-board additional artists, foundations, and cultural institutions onto TRLab’s platform, expand the company’s market presence worldwide, and integrate new technologies that improve the digital art collecting experience. Several new digital art experiences with prominent artists and estates are slated for release over the next six months, along with TRLab’s first-ever immersive digital art exhibition in November.
Audrey Ou, TRLab Co-Founder and CEO, said: “We are proud to have the support and commitment of Hivemind and OKX Ventures as we pioneer a new way to conceptualize and collect fine art. TRLab has always occupied a unique space among digital art and Web3 platforms, and the success of our mission-driven approach shows there is ample demand for digital-centric art experiences that foster a deeper understanding of fine art and individual artists.”
Hivemind and OKX Ventures cited TRLab’s differentiated value proposition as a key factor in their investment decisions, and plan to offer strategic support to TRLab in key markets worldwide
Matt Zhang, Founder and Managing Partner of Hivemind Capital Partners, said: “At Hivemind, we strongly believe in the potential of long-form generative art and see the broader digital native art as the next major art genre, all empowered by blockchain technology. With TRLab's curated vision and exceptional partnerships, they are ideally positioned to spearhead the digital art renaissance, seamlessly blending world-renowned artistry with cutting-edge technology. We're thrilled to support Audrey, Xin, and the entire TRLab team in their mission to shape the future of digital cultural heritage.”
Jeff Ren, Partner of OKX Ventures, said, “At OKX Ventures, we recognize the transformative power of Web3 in the world of fine art. TRLab isn't just reshaping collecting, it is pioneering a new era where Web3 technology meets timeless expression. We're thrilled to champion this convergence.”
TRLab fuses technology with fine art expertise to pioneer the future of collecting. Since its founding in 2021, TRLab has successfully designed and launched interactive art collecting experiences with leading digital and traditional artists, including “The Calder Question”, a multi-season educational project developed with the Calder Foundation; “Your Daytime Fireworks,” an online collecting journey with contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang, which was shortlisted for a 2022 Lumen Prize; and “Vogue Meta-Ocean”, the first digital art collection curated by Vogue editors worldwide. Exploding the Self", a 2021 limited-edition digital artwork TRLab co-developed with Cai Guo-Qiang, is now in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
About Hivemind Capital Partners
Hivemind Capital Partners is a Web3 and blockchain technology focused investment firm. Committed to institutionalizing digital asset investing, Hivemind combines crypto-native technology and expertise with institutional-grade risk management and practices. With a thesis-driven and multi-strategy approach, Hivemind unlocks the potential of digital assets to be an investable asset class by providing curated and scalable access to institutional investors. Founded in 2021, Hivemind is headquartered in the US with offices across the globe.
About OKX Ventures
OKX Ventures is an investment institution under the worldwide top trading platform OKX.com, which focuses on exploring the best blockchain projects on a global scale, supporting the most cutting-edge blockchain technology innovation, promoting the healthy development of the global blockchain industry, and focusing on long-term structural value investment. The initial capital of OKX Ventures is USD $100 million. We are committed to helping the ideal entrepreneurs who contribute to the development of the blockchain industry to build great companies and bringing global resources and historical experience to blockchain projects.
About HashKey Capital
Global in influence and crypto-native, HashKey Capital is a digital asset and blockchain leader helping institutions, founders and talents advance the blockchain industries. As one of the largest crypto funds and the earliest institutional investor in Ethereum, HashKey Capital has managed over US$1 billion in client assets since its inception, with over 500 investments in infrastructure, tools, and applications. With our deep knowledge across the blockchain ecosystem, HashKey Capital has built a robust network connecting founders, investors, developers, and regulators.