Twofour54 acquires a stake in online art marketplace Collectionair

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Twofour54 announces its second investment this month.

Abu Dhabi’s me­dia and entertainment free zone Twofour54 has acquired a stake in Collectionair, an online marketplace for fine arts in emerging markets including MENA.

Valerie Konde talking at the Bardo National Museum in 2015.
(Image via Collectionair)

No details were revealed about the size of the stake.

Less than 10 days ago Twofour54 announced that it had
ventured into gaming, with in investment alongside YCombinator in online cross-platform gaming startup Unnyhog. This time around, it’s gone into arts and ecommerce.

Collectionair acts as an online marketplace for art lovers from around the world to buy, rent and swap works from the comfort of their homes. It has also built a community where users can learn about artists’ journeys and cultural insights, plus read professional opinions on the pieces available on the platform.

“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 new markets, but we also give emerging artists the possibility to exhibit on a globally curated stage,” said founder Valerie Konde.

Collectionair was in the first cycle of Flat6labs Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme in 2015.

“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,” said Maryam Al Mheiri, acting CEO of Twofour54 in a statement.

“We believe in supporting entrepreneurship as a means of promoting economic diversity. We will continue to support startups that help fuel the industry with sustainable sources of innovation and creativity that enable the full value chain of the media and entertainment industry,” she said.

The platform has also attracted investment from Jordan-based early stage venture capital firm DASH Ventures.

“There is significant opportunity in the online art space and we are already seeing existing collectors and reputable curators embrace the platform,” says managing director of Dash Ventures Omar J Sati. “The funds from this round will go towards expanding the team, sourcing artwork, and inking key strategic partnerships.”

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

Collectionair is building a 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.

“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 Southeast Asia,” said Konde.

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