While wealthy patrons can hire art consultants to search out original pieces for their collections, finding and purchasing original artwork is difficult for most people. Today at Techcrunch Disrupt, New York startup Art.sy announced their intention to bring art collecting to masses.
Art.sy lets users search for art based on a number of criteria, including price, color, location and type of art. Users are presented with high quality photos of each piece, and if they want to take a look, they can get a referral to gallery personnel. The company takes a sales commission on each customer they refer.
The site also lets you share their favorite pieces on Twitter, and you can set up a gallery using Art.sy’s Facebook application. Founder and CEO Carter Cleveland thinks making fine art more social will also make it more accessible to a mass audience.
“They don’t buy it because they feel unwelcome, they feel intimated by the art scene,” he said. According to the company, the global fine art market is over $40 billion, with about $10 billion coming from art auctions. That $30 billion+ gallery market is what Art.sy is targeting.
The Art.sy team includes an art historian and a former executive of fine-art auction house Christie’s. The company believes it will be successful because it is working within the existing business models of the art world.
“We found a way to automate and scale the existing business model,” Cleveland said. “A lot of people walk into galleries with zero intention to buy. Art consultants usually provide galleries with warm leads and that’s what we will do.”
The company has a relatively low number of gallery clients right now, which Cleveland attributes that the company’s focus on getting Art.sy up and running for Disrupt. The company recently closed a $200,000 angel round of funding.
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