András Dobi (left), Benjamín Gibner, Caniel Cid Gómez

Artoui’s founders are raising capital to expand their art platform.

(Photo: Artoui)

Munich Three men, three completely different biographies, one common goal: With their start-up Artoui, Benjamin Gibner, Daniel Cid Gómez and András Dobi want to create a top address for artists, collectors and companies. They must meet on the platform, both on the Internet as well as on the site. For this goal, the Munich team collected one million euros at the beginning of the year.

“We see the potential for a successful international scale in Artoui,” says investor Andreas Knürr. The team and innovative positioning inspired him from the start, explains the entrepreneur, who got involved through his investment firm K&K1.

“Artoui could become an established brand in the art world in the coming years. That’s why we wanted to get involved as soon as possible,” says Knürr, who is also the founder and director of the Munich software company Timify.

Up to now Artoui has had two areas: business for corporate clients and sale of art online to individuals. A separate showroom will be added soon in the center of Munich.

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However, there is fierce competition in the art trade. Competitors like Lumas have been using a franchise model and a combination of online sales and stores for years. Well-known auction houses like Ketterer from Munich now also sell online.

Artoui photographs for hotels

Artoui has a slightly different approach than the competition. In its B2B area, the Munich company offers commissioned productions. For example, they furnished the Hotel Luc on the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin with photographs. Partner Dobi took the photos and the artwork was reproduced at the Gabner print shop in eastern Munich. More recently, Artoui filled a Basel hotel with several hundred photos. The artworks are also available on the Artoui website.

In business with individuals, the founders currently sell the works of more than 60 artists through their online store. There are three categories of art to choose from. First, originals that sometimes cost tens of thousands of euros. Secondly, the so-called “Limited Edition”, in which the artists determine the number of pieces in which their works will be offered and in which materials -brushed aluminum, for example, or laminated glass-. Third, “Custom Art”: Here buyers can specify what material they want and what sizes they would like the artwork in.

>> Read here: Experiences of a gallery owner from Hamburg – “She’s crazy, Mrs. Vera”

Benjamin Gibner, 33, is responsible for printing. The businessman set up his own business when he was in his early 20s and set up his own printing press. Daniel Cid Gómez, 45, studied business computing, is a former banker and has been running a gallery in Munich for 15 years. The native Spaniard is not only familiar with the art scene, but is also the tech brains of the trio.

András Dobi is in charge of the selection of the artists. The former Hungarian ballet dancer is an artistic photographer.

“It’s a concept that gives artists better marketing opportunities than ever before,” says Yussof Knauss. The former director of the advertising agency Heye is a photographer and sells his work through Artoui. The Munich publishing house has also opted for the project: “I am convinced that this is going to be very important,” underlines the 84-year-old man.

An Artoui store in the city of Munich

His wife Claudia Knauss is on board as patron and curator. The art expert was the managing partner of Heye Verlag for many years and says: “Investing in something like this is just fun.”

The trio will soon open a so-called “Concept Gallery” in the center of Munich. “People want to see original artwork on the site,” emphasizes founder Gomez. When it comes to works of tens of thousands of euros, it is important to have an exhibition space. The store is also important in attracting other artists, partner Gibner emphasizes.

You shouldn’t keep the gallery on the Isar. Gibner says: “Our goal is to scale the platform.” The name should be so strong that gallery owners in other cities also use the Artoui brand for their stores.

According to their own statements, the founders have so far invested a quarter of a million euros in the platform. They hope to raise a double-digit million amount for their project from investors. Artoui is already in the black, the partners say. In these economically turbulent times, potential financiers like to hear that.

More: New ways in art rental

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