They Clicked With Investors—Now What? Who Will Win the Race to Sell Art Online?

For two years running, the website Artsy threw one of the glitziest parties at Art Basel Miami Beach, the 2012 edition a Chanel-sponsored blowout at Soho Beach House that went until 3 a.m. Just look at Patrick McMullan! Lenny Kravitz! The Brant Brothers! Dasha Zhukova! Wendi Murdoch! Demi Moore! Vito Schnabel! Pharrell Williams!

In December, 2013, their comparatively modest dinner was scheduled for the same time as Aby Rosen’s party, and not one of those names was in attendance.

One can only read so much into these things, but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Artsy’s honeymoon may be nearing its conclusion, and with a new competitor in Amazon, the business of selling art online has changed. A few years into their establishment, Artsy, Artspace and Paddle8, the three start-ups that sought to revolutionize the art market (and seem best positioned to do so in terms of publicity and funding) have now entered the period in which they must solidify their business plans.

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