(Bloomberg) — EBay Inc.’s top trading-cards executive is leaving the e-commerce giant for collectible startup Alt, as the red-hot memorabilia industry is upended by newcomers and surprise licensing deals.
Nicole Colombo, who ran EBay’s fast-growing business in collectibles and trading cards for the past two years, is joining card exchange Alt as president. The former fashion-merchandising executive will drive overall business strategy for the platform, whose first asset class is trading cards. Management plans to expand into several other categories.
“Alt’s main goal is to create transparency and liquidity of alternative assets,” Colombo said in an interview. “That can mean trading cards, luxury watches, NFTs. The goal is to go beyond that.”
The trading-card business has been shaken up in recent months as sports merchandiser Fanatics Inc. snatched up exclusive deals across football, basketball and baseball. Meanwhile, funds are pumping money into platforms to take advantage of a spike in consumer interest as they look to invest in alternative assets.
Alt, founded in 2020, has raised $31 million in funding from investors including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s firm Seven Seven Six, NBA star Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures and First Round Capital.
EBay said in October that trading cards were driving growth in the U.S. It added a suite of features to accommodate users, such as price guides and portfolio management. The site moved $2 billion worth of cards in the first six months of the year, equal to all of 2020.
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