Wondering how to smartly navigate the art world if you’re a rookie collector? How to find the artwork you are looking for and evaluate what you already have? Alexander Tuteleers, founder of ArtAssistant, has the answer.
In 2016, Alexander Tuteleers a young Belgian entrepreneur, created ArtAssistant, a disruptive cloud-based platform that offers a one stop shop for all stakeholders in the world of art. The platform connects art collectors with fellow art enthusiasts, dealers, auction houses, and museums through a wide range of services, helping art collectors to offer a real overview of the artwork market. Furthermore, you can create a network with other art collectors, dealers, museums and auction houses, receive a quick valuation by more than 60 selected and independent experts, or get information about artworks and ask for professional translations.
This year, Alexander took part at the 2019 EBN Congress in Rome 'Venturing forward for Innovation', where he gained the opportunity to be one of the startups benefiting from the EER Project, a European Commission initiative that fosters collaboration through mapping, analysing and interlinking of European Entrepreneurial Regions, and he could meet investors and VC’s, participate to dedicated workshops and debates, be part of a pitching session receiving tips from the EU|BICs and investors presents and, as well, networking throughout the entire congress.
But let’s meet Alexander Tuteleers and discover ArtAssistant.
EBN: How was ArtAssistant created? Where did the idea come from?
A.T.: ArtAssistant was founded in 2016 based on a family tradition of more than 40 years of experience in independent art advisory. I’m the only founder and CEO of ArtAssistant. My parents started in independent art advisory over 40 years ago, thus, I grew up in an art-loving family, so my love for art started very early. Because of that, I could face the challenges collector could face when willing to enter the artwork marked. I studied economics in Brussels but was always passionate about the family business and participated in diverse projects from a young age. Then, I decided to start a platform connecting the several stakeholders in the world of art. Before creating a platform in 2016, I visited over 100 art fairs all over the world and worked in various projects linking collectors with dealers and museums.
EBN: Which need does ArtAssistant fulfil?
A.T.: ArtAssistant solves the need of collectors in a market that is always changing and needs more transparency. They often feel limited because they depend on the dealer’s advice. People are looking for a personal and independent experience, when they usually depend on the target focus proposed by the dealer or the auction house. ArtAssistant is fully independent founded and funded by collectors, no dealers or auction houses are involved. When the platform started, less than 3 years ago, only 6% of art was traded online, today we have passed 10%. This is a positive sign that shows that collectors are gradually feeling more confident about buying their next artwork online.
EBN: How does ArtAssistant work?
A.T.: The platform connects art collectors with fellow art enthusiasts, dealers, auction houses, and museums through a wide range of services. Being an active member at ArtAssistant, everything starts with generating a real overview of what you own and what you would like to have, through the collection manager. Here, users can upload the pictures of their artwork, texts, and certificates, while we respect their privacy, if needed, they can generate an overview, labels, or factsheets. With just one click members can request a valuation by one of our +60 independent experts and receive a response within 2 working days. There is also the possibility to translate a bit of text, carefully executed by native speakers from the world of art, with a clear budget and deadline given in advance. Finally, the platform offers an art browser, which makes possible to browse over 60 million artworks from museums and institutions all over Europe.
EBN: What is its operational network?
A.T.: Thanks to decades of experience in the world of art, there is a database of over 40.000 art collectors, over 14.000 art dealers, and over 500 auction houses and museums. During the recent months over 2.000 users have discovered the platform and the first paying customers started to introduce their art collection into the system.
EBN: This year, you had the chance to take part at the EBN Congress, the main EBN event that gathers EU|BICs, business support organisations, investors and disruptive startups like yours. How did you promote ArtAssistant during the 2019 EBN Congress in Rome?
A.T.: There were a lot of different activities to promote ourselves during the Congress. The one we loved the most was definitively the BtoBs and matchmaking with investors and VC’s, as we are currently searching for funding. Workshops and lectures, designed exclusively for startups, were really educational as well! All of the activities that centred around networking were essential to spread the awareness about ArtAssistant. We also had the opportunity to pitch the platform during the Congress at a session that was funded by the EER project and the European Commission where we had the chance of receiving feedback from the audience, mainly EU|BICs, investors, and coaches. It is a good initiative; we are absolutely interested in attending next year in Brussels.
EBN: How did you learn about EBN and the EU|BICs and the support they can grant to entrepreneurs?
A.T.: At the end of 2018, we attended the Fair for Digital Innovation in Cultural Heritage, organised by the European Commission. From there, we attended events linked to innovation and culture with a focus on European ambition. That is when we met the interesting EBN network. We never heard about EBN or the EBN Congress before, but we are definitely more than happy to discover the network! I would encourage other entrepreneurs to join the EBN Congress, to give themselves the chance to meet somebody that might be interested in your project and that can be the springboard to success.
EBN: How do you imagine that Art Assistant?could be upgraded?
A.T.: We have just attended the Angel Summit days in Brussels, where we announced our growth plans. Our intention is to create 14 jobs and therefore we are looking for private funding. In order to stay in Europe and become the world’s leading art platform, we appreciate the support of independent art lovers who can help us grow and expand our services even more. Back in 2016, ArtAssistant started with a first funding round at Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild. After that, ArtAssistant was among the very first successful crowdfunding campaigns in Belgium with KBC Bolero, presented with minister Alexander De Croo & Minister Willy Borsus in Brussels. With the development of our upcoming app artinmyspace.com, we aim to make art more accessible for people with a lower budget or without any art expertise.
EBN: What are your plans for the next couple of years?
A.T.: Besides expanding the commercial team and continuing our ambition for growth, we see an interesting evolution in the market. A sales office in Hong Kong can help us to serve the local Asian market better, expansion of our sales office in New York and growth of the heart of our company, in Bruges, will allow us to scale even faster. The only way is up! We are aiming to become the biggest independent online art platform.
JOIN the ArtAssistant platform here.
Interested in supporting and investing in ArtAssistant? Contact Alexander Tuteleers, ArtAssistant’s CEO and Founder.
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