Talking about this with Alie…How is art.sy going to make money? It has a limited appeal and an even more limited purpose. You won’t end up on that site if you don’t like or are super interested in art and once you are there, there probably isn’t much you don’t already know…
Also, word on the street is they are flying all of their interns out to Basel Miami*. I know they have all the funding in the world, but that just seems like bad business. But hey, what do I know?
*Yes, I’m jealous.
I’ve been following hyde or die for a while, so I’m flattered to find this blog post pop up in my feeds. Disclaimer: I’m a programmer that’s been with Art.sy for over 2 years back when we were a mere handful of people.
To those curious, Art.sy’s business model currently mimics that of an art advisor. Art.sy takes a cut of the profits from a sale made from any work discovered through Art.sy.
I agree about the limited appeal statement here. Many users on Art.sy right now are probably a fraction of people who are already engaged with the art world and won’t get much value from a lot of the site that aims to educate and give insight to one’s taste.
To take inspiration from a speech our CEO Carter often gives… Music was once in a similar conundrum. Music used to be something enjoyed primarily by a privileged elite, and besides folk songs, the general populous didn’t have much of a music vocabulary. It wasn’t until technology like the phonograph, radio, etc. that music saw more wide spread appeal. Now you can ask anyone “who is your favorite musician” and most likely they will be able to easily list several bands/musicians. But you ask the same question about fine art and many people won’t have much more than a very famous artist or two if even that.
We’re hoping that Art.sy can be a technology that helps expose fine art to the general populous in the way the phonograph/radio/etc. has for music. Hopefully by raising the baseline education of fine art we create new collectors, and draw in a large portion of potential collectors who have lots of money to spend on art but are too intimidated by, or unfamiliar with, the existing art world.
Art.sy’s purpose might be fairly limited right now, but we’re growing all the time. We’ve recently introduced a social layer for a centralized place for art discussion/editorial content and an online platform for art fairs. There’s also a lot going on behind the scenes to provide value to our partners such as software for galleries to upload and manage their inventory, an iPad app for our partners to use at fairs/exhibitions, analytics for galleries to find which artists are trending, and so on.
Since I’ve been with Art.sy back in the day I’ve been able to enjoy most of our trips from sleeping on friend’s blow up mattresses in Palo Alto for Tech Crunch Disrupt, to art party hopping in Miami for Miami Basel*. We take hiring and company culture very seriously at Art.sy. So even though it does sound extravagant, and possibly absurd, to bring everyone we can to these events, it actually pays off to strengthen our team’s unity/happiness/desire to work harder.
*Yes, it is a sweet deal working for Art.sy :)