If New York City-based tech startup ARTA aims to disrupt the high-end art shipping business, today they are a little closer to their goal. The company has announced $3 million in seed funding from investors that include current client David Zwirner Gallery, Sotheby’s, several venture capital firms, and a consortium of Chinese and European investors.
The funds will help the three-year-old ARTA, which bills itself as the Kayak or Expedia of the art shipping industry, to expand internationally, beginning with a London office. The startup has hired six new employees, including heads of marketing and engineering, and is launching partnerships with inventory management site ArtBase and auction house Phillips next week. It has also taken a booth at EXPO Chicago, which previews Wednesday for VIPs.
“I’m always looking for a way that technology can make an antiquated industry more efficient,” founder and CEO Adam Fields, who formerly worked for Artspace, told artnet News. “We recognized that shipping was a huge problem both for online and offline sellers when it comes to large, fragile, expensive pieces. Galleries like David Zwirner would call us and say ‘We can’t ship this $50,000 piece via FedEx or DHL. It needs crating, it needs insurance, it needs installlation.’ That was the catalyst for how ARTA started.”
In a statement, Zwirner called ARTA “a game-changer for logistics in the art world,” and praised its “transparent model.”
Instead of waiting days to obtain and compare prices, ARTA offers a platform where anyone—whether a gallery, auction house, collector, or art adviser—can get quotes from the top 300 art shippers around the world, according to Fields. Read more