twofour54 takes stake in online fine art marketplace, Collectionair

21 Mar 2016

Furthering its commitment to promoting entrepreneurship locally and regionally, twofour54 has taken a stake in Collectionair, an online platform and curated marketplace for fine art from emerging markets, including the Middle East and Africa.

Collectionair was among the first batch of start-ups launched in the first cycle of Flat6labs’ accelerator programme in 2015.

DASH Ventures, a leading early stage venture capital firm in Jordan, has also invested in Collectionair to support the start-up in developing its platform for customers who are keen on discovering and experiencing art conveniently.

The growing success of the emerging Middle Eastern art scene has provided a strong base for Collectionair to represent upcoming and already established artists from the same and other equally promising scenes. Collectionair acts as an online gateway into this world of emerging art, providing art lovers with a globally accessible marketplace and a sharing community where they can also buy, rent and swap works from the comfort of their homes. Within Collectionair is a community where users can learn about artists’ journies and cultural insights, plus read professional opinions on the pieces available on the platform.

Maryam Al Mheiri, Acting CEO of twofour54, said: “At twofour54 we believe in supporting entrepreneurship as a mean to promoting economic diversity. We will continue to support start-ups that help to fuel the industry with sustainable sources of innovation and creativity that enable the full value chain of the media and entertainment industry. Our partnership with Flat6labs is fundamental to facilitating entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi and our investment in Collectionair, a graduate from Flat6Labs, is testament to the quality of the programme. We are very proud to have played a role in bringing Flat6Labs to Abu Dhabi and very excited about our investment in Collectionair.”

Valerie Konde, founder of Collectionair, commented: “At Collectionair we believe that art should be inclusive so our mission is to introduce contemporary art to people who don’t know where to begin. Our online platform not only gives the chance for art lovers to discover and experience hand-picked works from exciting new markets, but we also give emerging artists the possibility to exhibit on a globally curated stage. The support we have received from Flat6labs and twofour54 has been vital in helping us to kick start our venture in the region, as well as in spreading artworks and content from the Middle East to the rest of the world. The offerings in Abu Dhabi were very appealing and different from other incubators, helping us to join a large network that connected us with the right people to support our growth. Initially working with the MENA art scene we are now ready to expand this to also include other similar emerging art scenes such as Latin America and South East Asia”.

Omar J. Sati, Managing Director of DASH Ventures, added: “Collectionair is setting out to make fine art more accessible to a growing market of interested consumers that find the art industry to be intimidating, overwhelming, and exclusive only to a select few. Using innovative ways to discover and experience art, like renting and swapping artwork and touring virtual exhibitions, Collectionair has built a unique and compelling business model with a focus on emerging artists from underrepresented regions. We believe there is significant opportunity in the online art space and we are already seeing existing collectors and reputable curators embrace the platform. The funds from this round will go towards expanding the team, sourcing artwork, and inking key strategic partnerships. Valerie is an exceptional entrepreneur and we are thrilled to be working alongside her.”

In 2014, the global art market was valued at $66b with online art sales representing $3.5b. The global art market is expected to continue growing at a fast pace, having more than doubled in the past ten years.

Collectionair is building a strong network of partners to ensure the quality of the art they source is always maintained. This includes established art curators, artist residencies, art schools and galleries from around the world, including London, New York and Dubai.

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