Lyft CFO Brian Roberts has been named the first finance chief of OpenSea in a move that takes him from big tech to a crypto assets startup.
OpenSea is the largest marketplace for NFTs (non-fungible tokens), a crypto segment that offers unique digital assets such as sports memorabilia and art collections and has taken off recently, with individual NFT sales exceeding more than $1 million on a regular basis.
Roberts joins the firm after seven years at ride-sharing app Lyft, which he helped guide through an initial public offering. “My next chapter will be spent at OpenSea, helping [co-founders] Devin Finzer, Alex Atallah, and team shape the future of NFTs, web3, and the digital economy,” he wrote in a tweet.
According to TechCrunch, Roberts’s move “is another signal of how executives and engineers are migrating from the ‘traditional’ roster of big tech companies toward so-called web3 crypto startups.”
OpenSea, which was founded in 2017, raised $100 million at a $1.5 billion valuation in July. It reportedly has been fielding new investment offers that could increase its valuation roughly six times to $10 billion or higher.
Investors include Coinbase Ventures, Blockchain Capital, Mark Cuban, NBA star Kevin Durant, and actor Ashton Kutcher.
In August, the marketplace saw 2 million transactions, totaling $3.4 billion in trading volume and tripling activity from July. Business has cooled a bit since then, but OpenSea still saw almost $1.9 billion in transaction volume over the past 30 days across more than 240,000 active crypto wallet addresses.
“NFTs have had a particularly hot 2021, and while many foresaw the boom earlier this year being followed by a chilly winter of inactivity, the alternative asset class has continued to enjoy builds and busts of enthusiasm while serving as a lightning rod of online conversation and speculation,” TechCrunch said.
Roberts joined Lyft in 2014 after previously working as an executive at Walmart’s e-commerce unit, Evercore, and Microsoft. Lyft’s March 2019 IPO valued the company at $24.3 billion.