How can galleries show their inventory to collectors remotely? And how can art collectors connect with like-minded people?
That’s the problem Mattis Curth set out to solve when he founded Artland with his brother, Jeppe. The result is a professional network that essentially plays art matchmaker for those who love art.
“We connect galleries and collectors,” Mattis Curth, CEO of Artland, told PYMNTS in an interview. “We are what you call a social marketplace, helping collectors build relationships with other collectors and [getting] access to the inventory of the galleries. And we help the galleries build relations with the collectors and showcase their inventory in front of collectors.”
To build the platform from the ground up, Artland reached out to collectors at art fairs. In addition, the company used social media and content marketing to grow its audience. From there, its users have promoted the platform. “Word of mouth is a big thing also for us,” Curth said.
The company brought the first 20 art galleries onboard by making in-person visits to spread the word. Then, the visits were no longer necessary to attract galleries.
“The rest have actually just come by themselves,” Curth said, “Last month, we had around 60 inbound requests from galleries.”
To ensure the platform lists high-quality sellers, galleries must fill out an application before gaining access. Then, the Artland team interviews the galleries and looks at their social media posts.
Right now, the platform essentially works as a lead generation service. Collectors are connected with galleries, and collectors arrange to make payments outside the platform. To list items on the platform, galleries must pay a subscription fee to Artland.
To help grow its social marketplace, Artland notched $1 million in funding from several big names. The new investors include handball player Mikkel Hansen; Olympic dressage champion Andreas Helgstrand; musician and songwriter Shaka Loveless; AirHelp Founder Nicolas Michaelsen and early investor in AirHelp Poul Oddershede — all of whom joined art curator Jens-Peter Brask and other early-stage seed investors in the company.
With the boost, Artland plans to further develop its service with a focus on its collectors. “We will use most of it to invest in the product,” Curth said.
The company is also hard at work on new features. To help customers visualize how a potential purchase would look in their homes, for example, Artland is testing a version of augmented reality (AR) technology on its platform.
“With a lot of the new technology, you can actually get your art to hang on the walls at home before buying it,” Curth said. “That will be very, very exciting to see how that [AR tech] can support it.”
On the platform, collectors can peruse galleries around the world — from Sweden and Norway to Australia, New York, Japan, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Brussels. Pieces on the platform range from $100 to $200,000.
Artland is growing daily and has already reached tens of thousands of users. The platform counts collectors such as Charles Riva, Victor Benady and Rolando Jiménez as users. It works with galleries such as Nils Stærk, Lyles & King and Seventeen.
“It spreads pretty quickly,” Curth said. “It’s built [to be] very scalable.”