Art has been performing historically well across all market sectors in times of high and rising inflation, and rebounded very quickly after the last recession. The global art market has long been dominated by the United States, UK and China, with U.S. taking 43% of the market two years ago. In 2014, Arthena, a new digital art investment startup has entered the marketplace, rising the question – is art investment becoming a new trend? Let us find out.

Arthena, an online investment platform established by Madelaine D’Angelo, helps to introduce the next generation of great art collectors to the art market, and tries to bridge the gap between art advisors and collectors. The platform gives individual access to collect with art world experts and invest into collections that you find most appealing through equity crowdfunding. D’Angelo, the company’s CEO, enables investors to pool their capital by creating investment funds that take cues from the “sharing economy”.

“What D’Angelo is building is an entirely new way to be an art collector, one that lets go of the ego contests of old, and is built for the digital age,” – reported Business Insider. D’Angelo is a certified appraiser, who holds a master’s degree from Harvard, and collaborated on her thesis with the Director Emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philippe de Montebello – together, the dug deep into the conception of private collections and emerging trends in collector behavior. D’Angelo has a previous experience working at the Peggy Guggenheim Collections, Smithsonian Institution, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Initially, she was concerned with how many future art collectors were not sure of where to start, and she realized she wants to help art advisors expand their networks and reach the new generation of collectors who prefer transacting online. To fill this gap, Arthena was established, with the goal of not just cheapen the work of art buyers or artists, but more to add volume to the market.

“Collecting and investing are two completely separate activities,”- said D’Angelo. “It’s very hard to separate that emotional aspect. When you’re looking at it from a non-mathematically-driven point of view, you can miss really great opportunities in market. Or you might overpay for something that you’re attached to.” Arthena has recently raised over $1 million in seed funding after it graduated from the AngelPad accelerator, and is currently in the stage of completing its first set of funds. The company partners with international art specialist to help their clients find the perfect opportunity to invest, as well as the platform’s online services, like keeping track of the collection and access to global roster of galleries, museums and art fairs.

AngelPad is the San-Francisco-based startup accelerator, founded by former Google employee Thomas Korte, where Arthena has actually came from. D’Angelo has always thought her generation was not engaged by the current model of fine art ownership, even when trendy startups are incorporating that model into digital landscape. As D’Angelo recalls, when she was working as an appraiser, one of her friends showed her a purchased piece by a famous artist. He thought he was making an investment, while for Madelaine it was crystal clear that the market for prints is different than for original works. D’Angelo had to open her friend’s eyes on the truth, and then the decision hit her – I wanted to create something that gave people a trustworthy, vetted, and accessible platform for art collecting, realizing that there was a large audience that wanted to participate in the art world and didn’t know how to get started,” – she remembers. This was the hidden agenda that made Madelaine together with her brother, Michael D’Angelo, and some MIT Media Lab students, whom she has lived with, establish Arthena and bring it to the accelerator.

Arthena offers the potential collectors three main funds to invest in: Blue Chip Artists, Established Masters, and Rising Emerging, all of them having more than $1 million investments. The funds are built as collections of individual works of artists, with targeted acquisitions that the company predicts to grow some 20% year by year. Arthena uses highly innovative technologies and quantitative model to identify and acquire assets with strong growth potential and attractive pricepoints that would ensure the delivery of a strong return for company’s investors. Another way Arthena uses its cutting-edge technologies is developing the other side of the platform – not only is it a place for investments, but also an educational platform that connects next-generation collectors and customers with experts and makes collecting easy and widespread.

The team working for Arthena is rather diverse, with people having background in entrepreneurship, technology, art, law, and finance. They all join their efforts towards the primary mission: democratize the experience of collecting and investing in art. Arthena’s founders, in the meantime, have decided to continue sharing the platform with the art world and with retail investors in the future, and even to open multiple collections within the next few months.

“For the first time ever, Arthena gives individuals access to collect and invest in art online. An equity crowdfunding platform for tangible assets like this has never existed before. It allows our collectors to pool their capital and co-own an entire collection rather than a single piece,” – stated D’Andelo. Partnering with the world’s leading art advisors, top-tier gallerists, independent art and museum curators, the company’s founders have written a model, which applies equity crowdfunding to tangible assets, and is prone to serve to other verticals too. Arthena is not just rewriting the trends in art collecting – it differs from the rest of the artistically directed companies in a way that the founders and employees truly believe in education and the cultural aspect of art, and daydreams that everyone can become a collector. With numerous e-commerce art platforms appearing in the market place, D’Angelo and her team wanted to build something that would guide users by giving them a chance to invest along with art world experts.

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