Juniqe, the European marketplace for curated art, has closed €14 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is growth venture fund Highland Europe — which has been very active of late — alongside existing investors Vorwerk Ventures, High-Tech Gründerfonds, and Redalpine.
The Berlin-based startup says it plans to use the injection of cash for tech and product development, to better serve artists and customers alike, and for further European expansion.
As it stands, Juniqe ships to 13 countries across Europe, which is seeing it generate over 40 per cent of revenue outside the company’s home country of Germany.
Furthermore, co-founder and Managing Director Lea Lange, who was previously at Fab.com, says that in less than a year since launching, Juniqe’s French site is already providing over 15 per cent of the startup’s revenue.
“On the supply side, we’ve witnessed an explosion of creativity over the past decade. This is because basically everyone has access to the tools to needed create digital art,” he tells me.
“On the demand side, consumers are shifting away from mass production and increasingly seeking out individualised experiences and products. Juniqe caters to this by providing consumers with exciting, affordable designs by emerging artists”.
That’s a roundabout way of describing the way digital — both discovery via social media, and distribution via on-demand printing — is disrupting and helping to grow the mass-market art world.
“The designs are printed to order on a wide products across multiple categories including Wall Art, Fashion and Living. By curating collections and creating inspiring content, Juniqe is helping re-shape our understanding of contemporary art and making it accessible to the masses,” explains Lange.
Those sentiments are echoed by the startup’s latest investor Highland Europe, noting that the technology now exists to enable an inventory-free, on-demand model for digital art. The VC firm previously invested in printing companies Vistaprint (Nasdaq-listed) and Photobox (owner of Moonpig), which was acquired by Exponent Private Equity last October for a price I’m told was £400 million ($570m).
“This rise of social media as a tool for art discovery, is a highly significant shift, which brings me to Juniqe and why we’re so delighted to be announcing that we’re leading a €14m investment to support the team in their mission to become Europe’s leading marketplace for curated and design-led art,” adds Irena Goldenberg, Partner at Highland Europe, in a blog post.