Proto Gets Investment Backing From Ventures Wing Of Auction Giant Christie’s

December 22, 2022 by Dave Haynes

The LA company that somewhat mainstreamed the use of transparent LCDs as kinda sorta but not really holographic displays has got itself an interesting new investor – the venture/investments wing of high-end auction house giant Christie’s.

Christie’s Ventures has made an undefined investment in LA’s Proto, on the heels of Christie using the shower stall-like displays to show artworks by Degas, Giacometti and the Lalannes, and running virtual presentations by Christie’s curators and executives on the screens.

Christie’s Ventures defines itself as a “new enterprise engaging with earlier stage companies through direct investment and both brand support and market access. It helps startups to accelerate their build-out and adoption, while simultaneously advancing Christie’s leadership in the ecosystem around fine art and luxury goods. Christie’s Ventures will start by exploring three broad categories: Web3.0 innovation, art related financial products and solutions and technologies that enable seamless consumption of art.”

“Our teams have been able to work very closely together to apply this powerful technology to bring a delightful experience for the first time ever into the art market,” says Devang Thakkar, Global Head of Christie’s Ventures.

From the PR:

Christie’s has used Proto in several different ways. The auction house has shown digital art pieces, such as the Friendsies collection of NFTs which was auctioned in March. Christie’s has also used Proto as a way to display important physical art works at global exhibition spaces, lifelike and lifesize, without the risk, expense, and carbon impact associated with shipping. By beaming Edgar Degas’ Petite danseuse de quatorze ans to London, San Francisco and Hong Kong ahead of the important Collection of Anne H. Bass auction in May, the delicate materials that are part of the bronze sculpture were more carefully preserved.  Two pieces by Alberto Giacometti have benefitted from a Proto hologram world tour: La Femme qui marche from the Hubert de Givenchy Collection auction and Femme de Venise III from the record breaking auction Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection.

Most recently Christie’s used the new, smaller Proto M to display multiple bronze works by François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne in Hong Kong to preview the successful auction in New York City  of The Collection of Marie Lalanne in November. The Proto M is designed to fit in more versatile spaces and for many use cases for telecommunications, art, retail, telehealth, education, entertainment, gaming and more. 

“Having Christie’s as a customer is spectacular, but having them as a partner is a dream come true,” says David Nussbaum, Inventor and CEO of Proto. “Christie’s is one of the pioneers in the use of Proto holograms, and they keep innovating with projects that are pro-environment, and that enable people around the globe  to experience major masterpieces. With this key investment, Proto is more determined than ever to continue our goal of connecting the world.”

Proto was founded in 2019 as PORTL, but has since re-branded. The company has raised roughly $20 million to date in its seed & Series A rounds.

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