Room40 Venture’s first crypto investment was Bridgesplit, a protocol founded by Room40’s inaugural Founders in Residence (FIR), Mary Gooneratne and Luke Truitt. Bridgesplit provides infrastructure that enables liquidity and yield for non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In December 2021, Bridgesplit raised a $4.25M seed round led by CoinFund and Jump Capital, with participation from Solana Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Room40 Ventures, and notable ecosystem angels.
Earlier last year, as we ventured deeper into the crypto rabbithole with our FIRs, we penned an internal thesis to help crystallize the opportunity ahead for both founders and investors. One of our core thematics focused on decentralized finance (DeFi) as a conduit for bringing a new wave of users into the crypto ecosystem. DeFi’s open and modular infrastructure allows the next generation of founders to build financial products that are modern, transparent, and accessible.
Luke and Mary are going all-in on this thesis by unlocking the potential of NFTs, not only to onboard a new wave of users, but also to become the foundation for massive asset classes:
We’re building Bridgesplit because we believe NFTs are the path to broad adoption of web3. NFTs will be natively digital ownership certificates for everything, enabling all value to be recognized and transactable. (Bridgesplit)
Bridgesplit is building on-chain infrastructure to financialize unique assets like NFTs. The company chose to build on Solana given the blockchain’s proven scalability, which yields market-leading transaction throughput and low fees. While DeFi markets to-date largely focused on fungible tokens like BTC, ETH, and stablecoins, it has been more challenging and inefficient to obtain liquidity for unique assets like NFTs.
Bridgesplit’s protocol solves this by tokenizing similar NFTs (e.g., NFTs from the same collection) to create a unified, deeper pool of liquidity. This pool can then be integrated into other Bridgesplit applications as a consumer product or developer APIs for trading, lending, syndication, and other functions. The team’s approach is to provide this infrastructure as a service for anyone to tap into, either as a user (via apps Bridgesplit builds to show what’s possible) or a developer (through SDKs).
The first Bridgesplit-powered app, Elixir, allows NFT holders to get liquidity from their collections and produce yield. The liquidity NFT holders provide enables a smoother trading experience for NFTs, one that more resembles an exchange like Coinbase than a marketplace like eBay. It also embeds a variety of DeFi applications into the user experience without compromising ease of use, providing products such as lending and margin trading for NFTs.
Looking forward, the Bridgesplit team plans to introduce applications for a variety of use cases across markets ranging from gaming to private credit. The surface area Bridgesplit’s robust infrastructure touches continues to expand as they begin to facilitate the integration of on- and off-chain assets.
Our seed round also includes Room40 Ventures, the fund that backed Bridgesplit from pre-idea to today, and continues to be a core contributor to the Bridgesplit community. (Bridgesplit)
We are thrilled for Bridgesplit as they build a consequential and transformative company. It has been an extraordinary journey since our first meeting with Luke and Mary, and we feel privileged to continue the partnership with them and the Bridgesplit team for years to come.