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A startup turned venture capitalists into cartoon NFTs and the stunt blew up on Twitter. Here’s why it had everyone laughing.

  • Today a startup called Party Round released a line of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) designed to look like top VCs.   
  • The VCs had five hours to claim their NFT by tweeting before the cartoons went up for auction. 
  • The NFTs went viral, with top VCs like Fred Wilson and Andrew Chen claiming theirs. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A startup called Party Round has combined Silicon Valley’s two favorite things: venture capitalists and non-fungible tokens (NFTs)

Today, the company, which has not officially launched and describes itself as ”

Cash App
for equity,” released a line of NFTs inspired by the upper echelon of Silicon Valley, a group they named “Helpful VCs”. 

The NFTs, which are unique files minted on the blockchain, portray and caricature dozens of top VCs, from a laser-eyed Anthony Pompliano to a vampire Peter Thiel. VCs had five hours to claim their own NFT for free by tweeting out a link, and consequently, the stunt went viral.

After the five-hour period, their blockchain alter egos were put up for auction to the general public, with the proceeds becoming grants for early-stage founders. 

How did the company decide who was worthy of being “NFT ‘ed?” 

 

“We wanted to shut down Twitter for a day, so we chose a mix of our friends and influential people on the bird app,” Party Round cofounder Sarah Chase told Insider. 

Chase said the project was inspired by Cryptopunks, a popular line of NFT characters that are “a status symbol in virtual Silicon Valley.” Chase and her cofounder Jordi Hays thought that creating Cryptopunk-like cartoons for VCs — and forcing VCs to tweet out links to claim them — would help their company, Party Round, go viral.

“For most of them, there’s no amount of money you could pay them to retweet anything,” Chase said. “But we knew vanity would do the trick.”

Her prediction proved prescient: Gen Z VC Nik Sharma told Insider his first thought when he saw his cartoon was, “Oh sh*t that’s awesome,” followed shortly by, “Damn. Do I really have to put a tweet on my Twitter for this?”

But, instead of letting someone else own his tiny digitized self, Sharma gave in. Other VCs like Alexis Ohanian, Andrew Chen, and Fred Wilson also claimed theirs. 

Although Sharma’s NFT was a close replica of his Twitter profile picture, the artist Sid Watters took creative liberties with some others. For example, Thiel’s fangs likely refer to a false but widely parodied story involving blood, while Sheel Mohnot’s cartoon is shirtless, likely an ode to when the VC posted his own topless photo

“I hate things like this that make me tweet,” Mohnot tweeted. “But gotta applaud the effort to include a shirtless pic here.” 

For those VCs that didn’t get a “Helpful VC” cartoon NFT designed after them, the startup is giving away “Helpful Analysts” next — as long as you retweet Party Round, of course. 


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