Berlin and New York-based online fine art and live auction house Auctionata has secured $20.2 million to spur global growth.
Founded only a year ago, it has raised money from private investment firms Earlybird, Bright Capital, Kite Ventures and prior backers Holtzbrinck Ventures, eVenture Capital Partners and the Raffay Group.
The Berlin startup operates much like a ‘regular’ auction house, offering services such as expert curation – its global network of experts is comprised of 250 internationally renowned specialists in a range of fields – item marketing and delivery, catalogue writing and whatnot.
The main differentiator is that the fledgling company also produces HDTV-production quality online auction events.
Its self-described mission is to “open the international art, antiques and collectibles markets to consumers, making it accessible to everybody through the Internet”.
Alexander Zacke, co-founder and CEO of Auctionata, puts it this way:
“Unlike traditional auction houses, where the excitement naturally falls off after each auction, the combination of online auctions and online shop generates a high experience factor for potential buyers and sellers alike.
“We are very pleased that our team of investors now includes another highly experienced global player like Earlybird bringing expertise in ecommerce and technology platforms.”
To date, Auctionata says over 21.000 requests for professional appraisal services have been processed, and that objects valued at more than $91 million have already been appraised by its 250 experts.
The company also claims it offers a new painting, book or antique cabinet for sale every five minutes.
On 21 June 2013, the startup will become the first German online fine art and auction house to sell an original watercolor by Egon Schiele – ‘Reclining Woman’, painted in 1916 – in an online live auction from its own TV studio, with a starting price of $1.5 million.
The company says it will use the freshly raised capital to expand aggressively in terms of geographies, technology and recruitment. At present, Auctionata has 100 employees and offices in Berlin and NYC.
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