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23 June 2020
Unsplash © Deanna J

Inbound Capital and Arteia look to the future of art

Maddyness spoke with Claire Barbaret and Clemence Cachet-Fournier from Inbound Capital about Arteia, a London-based platform redefining the art sector and addressed to art collectors, artists and art professionals with offices in London, Brussels, Krakow and Zug, Switzerland. They talk us through how the startup coped amid COVID-19 and what the future holds for the art sector.

[Maddyness] How would you say the art sector has been affected by the pandemic?

[Claire] At each level: galleries, auctions, showrooms. All the players have moved to digital! The sector of art being pre-COVID-19 was elitist and exclusive, people were staring at you if you were not an art collector entering an art gallery. Art collectors, galleries’ owners and artists knew each other and formed a close circle. Before the pandemic, it was not easy for any person simply interested in art to buy art. With the pandemic, the sector had to move to digital as fairs were cancelled, auctions stopped and galleries closed.

A move which was already starting pre-COVID-19 of a new generation of art collectors and potential buyers accessing this narrow sphere accelerated. Arteia aims to solve the problems of all the art ecosystem with an ultimate target to create a marketplace gathering art collectors, artists and professionals and make the art sector more open. It is bringing the building blocks to create a successful marketplace by providing services to:

  • Art collectors – “Collect”: a secure and user-friendly platform to enable art collectors to manage and showcase their art collections and share their passion with others.
  • Artists – Digital catalogue “Raisonné”: in the form of a digital catalogue where an artist enters and authenticates all his artworks.
  • Art professionals: partnering with all types of services across the whole value chain such as storage, shipping, provenance technologies, auctions, etc.

How is investing in the art sector at the moment? 

Many startups in the art sector raised funds before the pandemic as it was one of the last sectors which had still to make its digital transformation and investors didn’t want to miss it. A good example is Singulart, which is an online art gallery which raised €10M during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 inspired many artists around the globe. Has this time enabled you to spot new talents in the art sphere?

This is a really good question and indeed we see a radical change in terms of discovering and accessing art. Digitalisation and social media help spot new artists and connect art collectors and artists. It’s going to be interesting to see how this goes post-COVID-19 but we already see changes thanks to COVID-19 which accelerated the process and business models are going to be disrupted worldwide. We have seen museum, galleries, auctions going online at a very rapid pace.

Many museums transferred their exhibitions online, as we could see on Google Arts & Culture. Do you think this is a model that will remain post-COVID and what does it tell us about the future of the art sector?

Art conventions like Art Basel were cancelled so collectors visited online showrooms and realised it’s been made possible to see and buy artworks online. Things will probably not change rapidly for expensive artworks and collectors will continue to want to see the artwork before buying it, especially if it’s a €20M Picasso! So buying online would, in the short term, be dedicated to less expensive artworks and less known artists. It will also reduce the fees that could amount up to 45% of the transaction.

Overall, COVID-19 helped to digitalise the art sector as everything had to move online. In addition, the change in regulation will make this sector much more open and engaging. Money laundering was a big issue in the art ecosystem and had an impact on the prices but since the beginning of the year, a new rule against money laundering in the EU (5th Anti-Money laundering Directive) in the art space has been enforced.

?️ For further insights related to art digitalisation, download the latest Inbound Capital’s whitepaper: “Art’s inevitable digital leap forward (And why digital investors should care)”.