artspace

Artspace Raises $2.5 Million For Its Contemporary Art Marketplace

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Artspace, an e-commerce startup that helps connect contemporary artists and galleries with potential customers, has raised a $2.5 million Series A funding round with participation from Felicis Ventures, Accelerator Ventures, Blue Equity LLC, and Metamorphic Ventures.

The round also includes a wide range of accomplished entrepreneurs. The full roster: Michael Yavonditte (Hashable, Quigo), David Rosenblatt (1stdibs.com, Doubleclick), Dave Morgan (Simulmedia), Seth Goldstein (turntable.fm), Thomas Stemberg (Founder/former CEO of Staples); Rob Selati (Madison Dearborn Capital Partners); Todd Simon (SVP of Omaha Steaks) and Peter Ricketts (former COO of Ameritrade). The company previously raised a $1.2 million seed round last spring.

Artspace is setting out to make contemporary art accessible to those of us who aren’t necessarily deeply immersed in the art world already — and to help connect artists and galleries with potential buyers. The site also allows art fairs to create a virtual representation of their fair, which helps expand the number of potential buyers beyond those who can attend an event in-person.

The company says it plans to use the money to expand its team, boost marketing, and to continue to build out its product. Alongside the funding news, the company is also announcing that Andrew Goldstein, who was previously executive editor of ArtINFO, will now lead the site’s editorial teams, who will be writing educational content and tracking art-related news.

Cofounded by Catherine Levene (formerly COO of DailyCandy) and Christopher Vroom (founder of Artadia), Artspace is one of several NYC-based companies looking to help bring the art world to the web. Other startups in this space include Art.sy (a service, currently in private beta, that looks to be a sort of Pandora for fine art) and Artsicle (which lets customers rent art for $25 a month). There are also sites like 20×200 that sell curated art prints, and Etsy, which has been connecting artists with shoppers directly for years.

Asked about how the site differs from Art.sy, which has also generated plenty of buzz, Levene says that Artspace is focused on ecommerce — everything on the site is available for purchase and can be bought directly through the site. In contrast, pieces on Art.sy are not always for sale, and you can’t actually purchase pieces directly through the site (you need to get in touch with Art.sy to coordinate the transaction).

The site itself looks great, and there are options available for most pricepoints (the homepage currently includes pieces running from $100 to $6500).