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Artboost: democratising art

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“Historically, art has been largely reserved for a small elite. We want to change that and democratise art,” says Anders Cederholm, co-founder of Artboost, an online platform that connects buyers directly to artists, boasting 8000 artists and users in 130 countries. By-passing galleries and auction-houses, Anders wants to make art more affordable and accessible to everyone: “We are selling art by unknown artists to people who are not used to buying art”, he states matter-of-factly, not shying away from the challenges that this entails. “But the global art market is growing fast, and our presence on the US market is just taking off.”

Anders grew up surrounded by art – his uncle a collector “with art from the floor to the ceiling of his house. Whenever I paid a visit, I was always fascinated.” This passion stayed with him and when it came to decorating his own apartment, he was disappointed by the exclusivity and high prices of artwork. That’s how Artboost came about… As Anders explains, “It’s not just a marketplace, it’s an ecosystem to get more art into the world. The platform uses AI to generate more traffic for artists’ pages, matching users with artwork they will might like, a bit like Spotify or Netflix. But it’s not all plain sailing. Frequency is a challenge for us – people don’t buy art as often as they’d buy a pair of shoes. So scale is key.”

Since launching in 2014, the three founders have sharpened their B2B offering. “The art-for-offices business is thriving. Scientifically, it’s a proven way to raise employees’ productivity. It makes them more creative and less stressed.” So Artboost will take up the challenge of introducing artwork into any given workplace, matching artists with what the company is looking for. Clients include the likes of Designit and WeWork in the US. This is now becoming the business’ new focus: “The past four years were about building our community. We had seven different revenue streams but now we are more focussed, making it a more sustainable business,” Anders adds.

A EU-guaranteed loan from Vaekstfonden, backed by the EIF under the Investment Plan for Europe, gave the company more time to concentrate on scaling-up: “Debt financing is less time-consuming than equity,” Anders explains. “The loan has allowed us to meet our working capital needs comfortably so that we can focus on growing the business. The day the loan came through we immediately hired one more employee, and we’re looking at up to 5 new hires going forward. To have an impact in the B2B space you’ve got to invest in sales and marketing, with more people on the ground.”

Company: Artboost (Denmark)

Type of business: Visual art

EIF financing: Cultural & Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility (CCS), EFSI

Financial intermediary: Vaekstfonden

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Denmark, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/dk

 

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