In the midst of turmoil for peers Paddle8 and Auctionata, online art auction house Artsy just raised a $50M Series D.
None of the recent turmoil that’s affected fellow online art auction houses Paddle8 and Auctionata has seemed to dim Artsy’s outlook, and investors seem to be anything but nervous about its prospects.
NEW YORK — The handful of players in the new online art market have had a bit of a tumultuous go of things of late. The first sign of trouble was the Paddle8-Auctionata merger in May 2016. That news was spun as a positive alliance of two rival — yet (to be fair) complementary — online auction houses, in an effort to shield the real reason for the sudden move: that Paddle8 was just weeks away from insolvency, according to sources who spoke to Lean Luxe at the time.
To make matters worse, that union was short lived. In late January, Auctionata filed for bankruptcy. Paddle8 was spun off with the help of an investor — but not without laying off dozens of staffers.
None of this turmoil has seemed to dim Artsy’s outlook, however, and investors seem to be anything but nervous about its prospects. Proof in point: It’s just raised a $50M Series D, valuing the platform at an impressive $275M. To date, the company’s raised $100M in total, and this round included a whopping 56 investors, as pointed out by TechCrunch. Among them: Avenir Growth Capital, which led the round; L Catterton, which has been quite active in the modern luxury space of late; art dealer Larry Gagosian; and Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia who’s also invested in modern luxury furniture maker Floyd.
Axios’ Dan Primack highlighted this key talking point via The Verge’s Ben Popper: “When Artsy launched to the public in 2012, it had a little over 20,000 images from 275 galleries and 50 museums. Today, Artsy is far and away the biggest player in the online art market, with over 800,000 works from over 4,000 galleries. Not only have gallery owners come around to embracing [CEO Carter] Cleveland’s online marketplaces, 1,800 galleries now pay Artsy between $425 and $1,000 a month to be members. The company helped to put on 41 auctions last year, and is on track to participate in over 160 auctions in 2017.”