Art Radar explores 6 online start-ups bringing about change in the future of art business.

Once bastions of tradition, art businesses are now strengthening their online presence and operations. But established companies are facing challenges from innovative online start-ups bringing new ideas to cultural commerce. Art Radar looks at how 6 exciting start-ups are changing the future of art business.

The 1990s and 2000s saw the emergence of numerous online art sales websites, but only a few have survived to this day, including and auction service In recent years, there has been another surge of new online-only platforms that have seen million-dollar investments. Georgina Adam reported on BBC Culture news that “New start-ups and established players are turning digital to sell art online.” In their Art and Finance 2013 Report, Deloitte and ArtTactic state that 2012 saw an acceleration in the number of online art businesses coming to the market, with more than 300 online art ventures launched to date.

The global online art industry covers segments such as data, information and research, social communities, auctions and galleries, business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer art transaction platforms. Furthermore, the report says 62 percent of art professionals and 65 percent of collectors believe that online art businesses are here to stay and will play a significant role in the art market in the next two to three years.

In the Online Art Trade Report 2013, Hiscox and ArtTactic outline the recent key trends in the online art market, including investors’ belief in the growth of online art sales and the flourishing of online primary market platforms promising to generate new audiences for artists, galleries and museums. In addition, art giants such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s are also moving a lot of action to the virtual sphere by holding online-only auctions.

Among the most successful online platforms to date are auction platform Paddle8 , Artsy, Artspace and Artshare – a website dedicated exclusively to contemporary Chinese art, which acquired the online-only art fair VIP Art Fair in April 2013 – to name but a few. Art Radar looks at six exciting online start-ups that are set to change the way we conduct business in the art world.


Vastari, launched in 2013, is an online platform that connects museums to private collectors. The concept revolves around the need for museums to borrow works of art for exhibition from private collections and the desire of collectors to have their artworks included in prestigious museum exhibitions around the globe.

The system includes two search engines: one database of exhibition proposals for collectors to browse and a search engine of objects for museums to consider for exhibition. The platform guarantees maximum level security, a secure messaging system between collectors and museums, and provides featured articles about collecting and curating. Access is only granted to registered members, namely private collectors and museum professionals.

This year, Vastari has also become one of the 12 start-ups that Microsoft is backing in the United Kingdom with its 12-week Microsoft Ventures Accelerator programme, which includes mentoring, technical assistance and three years’ free access to resources (software) and support.

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