Deepak Chopra Backs Art Marketplace GlobeIn

GlobeIn, an online marketplace where you purchase art and handmade goods from around the world, has the backing of an unusual investor — spiritual guru Deepak Chopra.

The company is announcing that it has raised $1 million in additional funding from backers including Chopra and former IBM executive Doug Maine, bringing its Series A to $2.1 million total. It’s also launching its first iOS app today.

GlobeIn’s goal is to help artists and craftspeople (who might otherwise be offline) reach a global customer base. To do that, it has built a network of “Artisan Helpers” who photograph the artisans, record their stories, and help them use the necessary technology. The company says it now sells products created by “hundreds of artists from over 40 countries.”

Chopra told me that he first heard about GlobeIn from AnchorFree CEO David Gorodyansky (who also invested in the startup), and he was excited about the company’s potential to help “eradicate poverty.” When I asked why he thought GlobeIn might actually succeed in that rather lofty goal, Chopra replied, “Any startup is a risky idea, but I think it’s worth taking a risk if that idea can transform the world in any way.”

In addition to investing, Chopra will also be offering a monthly subscription service called “Explore the World With Deepak Chopra,” combining a meditation series with curated artisan products, for $29.99 a month. (The startup began offering subscription boxes earlier this year.) GlobeIn founder and CEO Vlad Ermakov told me that Chopra has also been helpful in shaping the company’s marketing, making it more about storytelling than “straight up marketing to consumers.”

Ermakov also noted that prior to launching the iOS app, GlobeIn’s traffic was 30 percent mobile. Like the website, the app allows users to browse through and buy products — in fact, he argued that it’s “much cooler than the web experience.”

By the way, if you’re still wrapping your head around Deepak Chopra investing in a tech startup, he told me that his goal is to “highlight young entrepreneurs who are basically shifting consciousness in the world and have a social cause that they believe in.” Oh, and here’s a video interview with Chopra that we published in February.