“Art Startups”

The Rise and fall of Art Startups

Despite its reputation for being at times archaic, the art world has been very creative when it comes to integrating technology. We take a look at the business models behind some of the most salient online startups of the art world. In New York, 1989, Pierre Sernet and Hans Neuendorf founded a small company allowing art dealers to view prices recorded at auctions through a complex proprietary system. Seven years later, on the other side of the Atlantic, Thierry Ehrmann founded the Server Group, a collator of auction results promoting information transparency through technology. Today, Ehrmann is CEO of Artprice, the world leader of art market information. Long before the Internet, in the realm of client-server technology, there were players all accross the world considering the challenges facing the art market and how to adapt the latest advences in order to grow the business. After all, the art world has been online since long before Google, Facebook or Uber existed. Online commerce The Holy Grail of the online art industry is of course to sell, sell, sell. The number of attempted online art ventures is staggering as in the past few years alone, many thousands of efforts have taken place, in this tiny-mini market. Businesses operating in this area pitch their future success on the subtleties between the different platforms and approaches and the various sub-niches. At present, the biggest online-only venture in the market is 1stdibs, founded in 2001 at the Saint-Ouen flea market. Dedicated primarily to antiques and collectibles, it has since achieved significant market share for interior design and decoration in the United States. Whilst it was conceived as an online listing for returns, the site now deals with transactions directly. 1stdibs closest contemporary rival, despite having not yet become profitable, is Artsy. Created in 2009 by Carter...