Today these websites face two principal challenges to develop a brand and to create a sustainable business model. Branding has been complicated for all by the sudden rise of several companies with overlapping aims and market approaches. Within the last two years, the number of online art start-ups has shot up and now sits at well over 25. Unsurprisingly, the wider public may have difficulty distinguishing among the options. “It takes time on all these sites to figure out what’s different,” admits David Frankel, a partner at the venture capital fund Founder Collective, which has invested in the sites Art.sy, 20x200, and Paddle8.
A close look at seven of the best-funded, most innovative, and most intensely promoted art initiatives on the Internet today—Exhibition A, Art.sy, 1stdibs, Paddle8, 20x200, Artspace and VIP Art—reveals a variety of business models. Each seeks to capitalize on the dramatic globalization of the art market, which has developed significantly since an earlier generation of sites flopped a decade ago. “Some will make it and some won’t,” Frankel says. “At this point, we’ve spread our bets a little bit.”
I was hoping for more battling. Jousting? Too much Game of Thrones?