- Artify It, a San Francisco-based start-up, is unveiling today a new service offering that harnesses technology and a subscription-based model to provide artists, businesses and consumers fresh ways to experience high-quality, contemporary art
- The company announces today that it has received $800,000 in an oversubscribed angel seed round from top names in the investment community; Artify It is now working towards a public launch of its website in the near future
- Artify It’s subscription model allows affordable, unlimited access to a catalog of high-quality, curated, original contemporary art that members can utilize, keep at their home or business, swap out and even exhibit for sale, earning commissions
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 24, 2012 – Today Artify It announced it has raised $800,000 in an oversubscribed angel seed round through some of Silicon Valley’s top investors. Artify It is a San Francisco-based start-up that utilizes technology and the social web to create a new business model around the discovery, experience and sale of original art.
The company’s goal is to facilitate access to a high quality, diverse selection of art through an online catalog that also acts as a social network for members to interact with the art community. Artists gain exposure through Artify It’s virtual galleries and get a chance to earn immediate revenue by loaning out their collections to art purchasers of every level – from seasoned collectors to newcomers – until their piece is sold, all along sharing in the subscription revenue.
“Artify It’s concept is evolving the very traditional art world by infusing technology and a subscription model to better support the needs of art lovers and collectors, as well as artists themselves,” says Lorenzo Thione, co-founder and chairman of Artify It and former co-founder of Powerset Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft in 2005 to complement their Bing search engine development. “Artify It allows for affordable, unlimited access to high quality art that can be swapped out or purchased at any time.”
By introducing a subscription-based model, members can introduce art into their homes or businesses without significant up front costs of purchasing. Members are granted access to affordable art and the power to swap out pieces at will. The process allows for artists to get the opportunity to earn some revenue until their pieces are sold as well as gain exposure within their local communities and globally.
As part of its initial offering, Artify It is introducing Artify Scout™, a unique feature that enables subscribers to act as curators and finders for works that might be sought for purchase by other visitors to the website, or by anyone seeing the works in person at the subscriber’s home or business. If a piece that is placed with a subscriber is bid on and sold, a sizable commission is earned by the subscriber, turning each subscriber into an art dealer, and creating another business model within Artify it.
Artify it has already attracted many notable names from the investment community, including Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel, former Google and Facebook executive Benjamin Ling and Quest Ventures. In its seed round, Artify It has raised $800,000 in capital investments, targeting additional investment goals for further growth and expansion.
“Artify It is using technology to create an entirely new business model for one of the world’s most traditional industries: art,” said lead Artify It investor Peter Thiel, technology entrepreneur and founder of the Thiel Foundation. “And it’s creating fresh opportunities not just for consumers, businesses and for artists, but for the entire art ecosystem.”
Artify It investors like Thiel are passionate about infusing technology into traditional business platforms to create new opportunities for all stakeholders involved. Stakeholders who benefit from the service not only include Artify It members, but also the artists themselves, as well as traditional collectors.
A New Business Model
Artify It is a new, disruptive service offering that is transforming the art market with technology, social networking and new business opportunities. The subscription model allows affordable, unlimited access to a catalog of diverse and high quality, original art that each member can check out, keep at their home or business, swap out and even exhibit for sale, earning commissions. The Artify Scout™ feature creates a significant revenue opportunity for members who may discover great artists, and exhibit their art in their spaces – homes or businesses. By finding an interested party to purchase the art they are currently subscribing to, members are able to become a part of the business cycle if they choose to.
The benefits continue for artists themselves. Traditionally artists need to promote and store their art until time of purchase. But with Artify It’s approach, artists can showcase their art online and in real world venues until it is sold, while earning revenue for it at the same time. By turning the idea of ‘art as an investment’ into ‘art as a service’, not only can members refresh the décor in housing, businesses or public areas, but they can also create win-win scenarios for all stakeholders involved.
“We developed our service offering with both consumers and artists in mind,” says Thione. “Artify It is not only demystifying the sometimes intimidating art purchasing process, but also truly supporting artists by providing visibility and giving their not-yet sold art a place in the community.”
Additionally, Artify It plans to infuse social networking and education tools into the site, providing a valuable perk to the artist community and to art education in general. Often times artists – especially young artists – need to spend time away from their work to promote themselves and sell their art. Artify It will host artist profiles and connection services to allow members to interface with the artists to learn more about them and their work, as well as promoting sale options.
Plans for Growth
Artify It is focusing on the greater San Francisco bay area as a key launch market for initial services. Artify It is already working with local artists to identify and add high quality art pieces for the online catalog. The company plans to expand to key markets such as Los Angeles, New York and other as soon as 2013. As an online-based service provider, Artify will also work with national customers from across the U.S. to ship art as needed for interested members outside of San Francisco.
Key corporate clients have already began signing up for Artify It’s service, including Zite (CNN-owned), a developer of a leading personalized newsreader application tool, as well as San Francisco-based CrowdFlower, a leading enterprise crowd sourcing platform.
The Artify It website will officially launch in mid-May, with test pilots currently underway. Initial members are already using the service under beta testing, and reaction is overwhelmingly positive. Additionally, strong numbers of interested artists have also began signing up to help grow Artify It’s online catalog. Members and artists can sign up for Artify It by visiting www.artify.it.
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About Artify It
Artify It provides monthly access to original high-quality art from local artists. Customers can choose art from Artify It’s diverse catalog and keep it for any length of time without the expense and commitment of traditional art ownership. Customers can then swap new art from Artify It’s growing selection anytime. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or art-world novice, Artify It has artwork for your tastes and lifestyle. Artify It offers an easy and practical way to transform your home or office, allowing you to showcase a rotating collection of art that speaks to you. Our lives change, our tastes evolve, so why should our art remain the same? Don’t waste another day living with a blank or boring wall. Artify It, and enjoy art. For more information please visit www.artify.it.
by Chiara Spagnoli