The art world doesn’t always get a lot of love from the VC community, but Artspace.com is ready to change all that with a new round from Canaan Partners. The Series B round adds another $8.5 million on to ArtSpace’s original $3.7 million in venture and Series A funding.
Artspace.com is an ecommerce platform that acts as an online marketplace for high-end art. It was founded back in 2011, and has since grown to secure the largest ever round in the art sector, but that’s just the start.
The service has also built out its inventory since launch from $7 or $8 million to $100 million worth of inventory on the site right now. That means that there’s something there for everyone, whether you’re an experienced collector or a first-timer.
In terms of that new Series B round, Artspace has big plans for expansion. We spoke to co-founders Catherine Levene and Christopher Vroom who said that the $8.5 million round would go toward expansion of both the technology platform (meaning new products and services) and expansion of the service into new global markets, by increasing marketing and supply partners.
You’d assume that art collectors would like to see more than a 2D rendering of their desired work before purchasing it, but apparently that’s not the case.
“Paying that huge sum without seeing the art can be scary for some people, but we’ve seen in the last ten years that there is an explosion of sales being made by simply sending jpgs,” said Catherine Levene. “We’re building a more efficient platform from an existing practice, facilitating engagement for the gallery directly to the collector.”
Canaan led the round, with help from Maria Baibakova, Robert Pittman of MTV and Clear Channel Communications, David Rosenblatt of 1stDibs, Mike Yavonditte of Hashable, Pamela and Richard Kramlich of New Enterprise Associates and Staple’s founder Tom Stemberg.
“There is significant opportunity in the art technology sector at the moment and of all the platforms that we investigated, Artspace.com has the most compelling business model,” said Warren Lee, partner at Canaan and board member at Artspace. “We are already seeing existing collectors embrace the platform and we believe the next generation of art collectors will expect to be able to buy online.”