“In The Studio,” Paddle8’s Aditya Julka Discuses Building Niche Online Marketplaces

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Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is a contributor to TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

“In the Studio” opens up Q2 of 2013 by hosting a three-time founder who, after stints in engineering and the biomedical industry in India, happened to team up with a young leader in the art world to create one of the art world’s most fascinating online auction houses.

Aditya Julka, a co-founder of online art and collectible marketplace Paddle8, has carved an unusual path of entrepreneurship. After growing up and studying in India, Julka began his career as a healthcare entrepreneur, founding two companies before he came stateside to pursue his MBA. After graduation, he moved to NYC and started what would become Paddle8, though the business initial began as a lead-gen engine for collectors, but Julka and his team quickly identified that, given the intricacies of the art world, the web could enable an interesting marketplace so long as they were able to secure the right art “supply.”

In this video, Julka and I discuss how Paddle8 was formed, how it transitioned from lead-gen to an auction format, lessons he’s gleaned from trying to build an online marketplace in a very complex, opaque industry, and how art moves from the artist to gallery to collector, and the potential re-sale options collector’s have. In these cases, art holders may have to sell art back to the gallery and get a haircut in return, or for works under $100,000, aren’t suitable for the big offline auction houses. This video would be valuable to anyone building an online marketplace, and Julka poses hard questions for these entrepreneurs — namely, to investigate any marketplace idea by asking “Why haven’t Amazon or eBay tried to go after this market?” The answer to that question, Julka believes, will help guide a startup to focus on being truly unique.