Fractional, a company that lets people sell fractions of their NFTs, said Wednesday it is changing its name to Tessera. The move coincides with a new funding round led by crypto giant Paradigm.
Tessera founder and CEO Andy Chorlian said that the $20 million investment will be used to add employees to the company’s 24-person team, including marketing and external-facing roles as well as developers and engineers.
The Tessera team will also use the additional resources to double down on a new protocol it’s developing that will transform the digital pieces of a person’s NFT into NFTs themselves, instead of ERC-20 digital tokens like USDT or USDC.
The fractional NFTs will be akin to a print of an original art piece, Chorlian said, and will simplify the process of trading for those users who may be experienced with NFTs but not digital tokens.
“It was a really, really big barrier for a lot of our users, who are just so used to trading NFTs on OpenSea or any of these other marketplaces, and that level of education and trying to explain how all this works was just a step too far for a lot of people,” Chorlian told Fortune.
For many, fractionalizing an NFT is seen as an investment move. Tessera’s website states that some of the benefits of doing so are getting liquidity for an NFT without having to sell it outright, and collecting fees from the people that buy fractions of your NFT.
With the new funding, Chorlian said, Tessera is making its name more distinguishable and rebranding to reflect a changing ambition for the company, namely moving away from financialization and focusing on collective ownership and community. The new name, Tessera, is commonly defined as a tile or other material used to construct a mosaic.
“Really what is most exciting to us in general about this is, how do we make interesting connections with other people,” Chorlian said. “How do we empower artists and creators?”
Chorlian launched Tessera in 2021 with cofounder Nejc Krajnik, after graduating with a computer science degree from Villanova University in 2016 and developing smart contracts at organizations like MakerDAO, the decentralized autonomous organization that issues the DAI stablecoin and specializes in autonomous crypto loans. Since its launch, the company has facilitated $2 billion in total trading volume and hosts about 70,000 unique holders of fractional NFTs, Chorlian said.
Tessera had previously raised $7.9 million in a round led by Paradigm last August which it said it would use to add to its business development team and in-house counsel.
Chorlian said besides Paradigm, the round includes 50 angel investors, all with a breadth of knowledge in NFTs and decentralized finance to help give feedback and guide the company. Investors like Focus Labs, Uniswap Labs Ventures, E Girl Capital, and Yunt Capital also participated in the round.
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