Are NFTs a Good Investment? Many Los Angeles VCs Aren’t Convinced

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

nfts
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Non-fungible tokens—better known as NFTs—have gone mainstream in the past year, with everyone from major art auction houses to Hollywood movie studios buying into the hype.

NFTs are unique pieces of data tracked and stored on blockchains like Ethereum. They’re usually associated with digital images, such as cartoon apes or the artist Beeple’s $69 million digital collage. NFTs offer a record of ownership that is verifiable through a digital ledger, opening up a whole range of possibilities for digital assets that people can buy, sell, and transact with.


Major venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz are among those to have entered the NFT fray, with the Silicon Valley giant targeting NFT startups through its new $2.2 billion crypto fund. As such, dot.LA decided to gauge how local VC investors—who are accustomed to navigating burgeoning tech bubbles—feel about this latest trend.

In a dot.LA poll of 32 leading Los Angeles-based venture capitalists, roughly 9% described NFTs as a "good” investment, while an equal percentage indicated the opposite, calling them a “bad” investment. A roughly 66% majority of respondents, meanwhile, said they were simply “not sure.” The remaining 16% selected “other”—listing a range of responses including “Not great for a venture fund, good for individuals,” “Fundamentally a good development, but currently overvalued,” and “Depends on the NFT!”

When dot.LA reached out for further comment, none of the NFT skeptics chose to share their take on the record.

Like the crypto space at large, NFTs have no shortage of doubters and proponents alike. Some prominent technologists—including Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike and Square CEO Jack Dorsey—have publicly questioned whether the scene is as decentralized as it seems. In the gaming industry, some developers are looking to build entire games around NFTs, while others are reportedly turning away NFTs as payment.

“2021 was a watershed year for NFTs focused on art, collectibles & gaming. People value scarcity, and NFTs fit the bill,” said M13 investor Mark Grace. “Add in their traits of transportability and programmability, and it's easy to see why people are so engaged,” he added, though noting that he’s cautious of “NFTs marketed as a cure-all.”

TenOneTen partner Minnie Ingersoll shared the enthusiasm.

“No one yet knows how things will shake out, but ownership, the metaverse, and digital identity are being rethought and that's exciting,” said Ingersoll. “Personally, I'm more bullish on tokens that have functionality or represent digital work (e.g., NFTs that unlock access or represent digital art) than I am on NFTs that try to bridge the physical world onto the blockchain. I think both will happen eventually but from a timing perspective the latter is not where I would focus on investing now.”

Both M13 and TenOneTen have investments in blockchain-related companies—respectively, crypto investing tool River and mobile banking app LVL.

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Cadence

Greater Good Health Raises $10M To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Greater Good Health Raises $10M To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage
Courtesy of Greater Good Health

The pandemic highlighted what’s been a growing trend for years: Medical students are prioritizing high-paying specialty fields over primary care, leading to a shortage of primary care doctors who take care of a patient’s day-to-day health concerns. These physicians are a cornerstone of preventative health care, which when addressed can lower health care costs for patients, insurers and the government. But there’s a massive shortage of doctors all over the country, and the pipeline for primary care physicians is even weaker.

One local startup is offering a possible answer to this supply squeeze: nurse practitioners.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Beach-based Greater Good Health unveiled $10 million in new funding led by LRVHealth, adding to $3 million in seed funding raised by the startup last year. The company employs nurse practitioners and pairs them with doctor’s offices and medical clinics; this allows nurse practitioners to take on patients who would otherwise have to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor.

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Plus Capital Partner Amanda Groves on Celebrity Equity Investments

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PLUS Capital​’s Amanda Groves.
Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Amanda Groves talks about how PLUS Capital advises celebrity investors and why more high-profile individuals are choosing to invest instead of endorse.

As a partner at PLUS, Groves works with over 70 artists and athletes, helping to guide their investment strategies. PLUS advises their talent roster to combine their financial capital with their social capital and focus on five investment areas: the future of work, future of education, health and wellness, the conscious consumer and sustainability.

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