Wondery founder and former CEO Hernan Lopez has launched his new venture. He has teamed up with Jeanne Anderson to launch Danvas, a new VC-backed startup that brings NFTs and digital art into the real world. The company will market digital displays that will bring NFT art to life.
“At Danvas, we view this moment as the beginning of a digital art renaissance,” said Lopez and Anderson in a joint statement. “Our goal is to create the most experientially compelling digital art frame in the world - one that invites you to interact with digital art, and ultimately convert you into a lifelong collector.” Anderson is the former General Manager of Saatchi Art.
Danvas launches with $7 million in seed funding from several VC funds that also back podcast companies. The list includes Greycroft, Lerer Hippeau, Waverley Capital, VaynerFund, UTA Ventures, BDMI and angel investors Rich Greenfield and Jason Nazar. The company says the round of seed funding will enable Danvas to continue to innovate through increased research and development, support the production of the displays, and finance bringing the displays to market.
Lopez launched Wondery in 2016 and led the company until this spring when Amazon closed on its acquisition of the podcast studio and promoted COO Jen Sargent to CEO.
Lopez, a former television executive, also created the Hernan Lopez Family Foundation. “The Foundation will seek to help progress the fight against systemic bias and racism, while also enabling underrepresented individuals to break through these ceilings through grants, training and networking programs,” wrote Lopez in a LinkedIn post in January. He said the Hernan Lopez Family Foundation will not only push companies to hire and promote people of all backgrounds, but also help those who are looking to advance their career with advice, training, and business connections. “While 2020 was a pivotal year in bringing diversity, equity and inclusion to the forefront of conversations in corporate America, there’s still so much work to do to fully stamp out racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination,” he said.
Lopez still faces a legal fight unrelated to Wondery but rather his time as CEO of Fox International Channels. Federal prosecutors charged Lopez and fellow Fox executive Carlos Martinez in March, alleging they paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure rights for the World Cup and other Latin American soccer tournaments for his former employer, 21st Century Fox. The 53-count indictment charges Lopez and Martinez with wire fraud, money laundering and related offenses. But Lopez has insisted that he did nothing wrong and will be cleared.