Art Startup Joins the London Accelerator Scene

Posted on News
Posted on News

LONDON.- Vastari is a new service launched to connect private collectors with museum professionals online to facilitate exhibition loans.

The company launched the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in January 2013 to a positive response from curators at major museums, distinguished collectors and from the international arts press.

A year later, the company has been chosen as one of twelve startups joining the first London cohort of the Microsoft Ventures accelerator.

"Bringing such a new product to a tech-sceptic market has required a lot of trial and error on our part," says Bernadine Bröcker, Managing Director of the company. "We always knew that we needed to think of surviving in the long run with this project. We have been listening to what our clients need most and growing to meet their needs."

It's a simple solution to a straightforward question. Currently, museums curators organise thousands of exhibitions a year and are on the lookout for a wide variety of works to include in them. When you walk around an exhibition, you can see that most objects have been borrowed from other museums and large private collections. These lenders raise the profile of the work of art, see it in a new academic context and benefit from sharing it with the public. But how do the curators at museums contact these collectors? Is there a way for the lender to be proactive in this process?

Although a direct relationship between these two parties is mutually beneficial, no communication channel exists to nurture these relationships. The curatorial process requires networking, travel, hours of investigation and negotiation – all mostly offline. Curators do not borrow as much from private collectors because of the time they would need to research these works, the possibility that the collector may not be interested and the need to go via commercial third parties to reach them. As a result, many holes in the curatorial story remain unsolved and potential connections are not made.

Collectors are usually reluctant to share their works with the wider art market. Curators are protective of their exhibition ideas and Institution's name. Vastari solves these issues offering the impartial, independent and secure environment necessary for these connections to prosper.

All collections and all exhibition proposals are saved anonymously by default. The website, including all correspondence, is SSL-encrypted and hosted on top-security 24/7 managed servers, adhering to standards used by the health and finance sectors. Moreover, the site does not store any personal details about any of the private or institutional members.

"When I explain the concept of Vastari to people in the art world, the usual comment is 'I can't believe no one thought of this before'," says Bröcker. “However, this wouldn't have been possible without digital technology advances. Ten months after the launch of our website (thanks to our user's invaluable feedback) we had clear goals in terms of the growth and development of our online services. This quite naturally led to applying for Microsoft Ventures Accelerator.”

We are proud to announce that Vastari has been selected amongst hundreds of start-ups to participate in the programme. “Microsoft Ventures Accelerator – London – is pleased to welcome Exhibition Connection Ltd into its February 2014 cohort. Competition was stiff, but Exhibition Connection Ltd had the right mix of a great team and a great idea, whilst being coachable and, in our view, having the potential to’ attract third party funding. We look forward to working with them throughout the 12-week programme in 2014, and to accelerating their business to the next level.”

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