Online art marketplace Artfinder beat its initial fundraising target of £250,000 just six hours after launching on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.
It marks the first time the business has run a crowdfunding campaign, after seeing a 144% growth in new customers during April and May 2020 compared with the same period last year. That represents a 108% increase in the value of art sold, with more than 8,000 artworks sold in total during those two months.
The boom in online art sales comes as people staying at home look for artworks to fill their empty walls. On Friday, the painting “Shimmering Lights” by Inez Froehlich, sold for £892.32.
“Since we launched in 2013 we’ve grown the business steadily, we’ve kept our operations lean and we are proud to have reached a point of sustainability,” Artfinder Chief Executive Michal Szczesny said.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without our amazing community of artists and customers and now, in light of growth at a level we’ve never seen before, it feels like the right time to invite our community to share in our success,” he added.
Investors in Artfinder’s crowdfunding round will receive equity in the business, which is currently valued at £10 million.
Artfinder is backed by investors including Oxford Capital and Cambridge Angels. To date, its lead investor, venture-capital firm Wellington Partners, which previously invested in Spotify SPOT, -3.03%, has invested £5 million in the site.
May was the Artfinder’s best month for sales in its seven-year history, both in terms of total number of artworks sold and total value, with the site shifting an artwork every 10 minutes on average.
The business plans to use the proceeds from the fundraising to accelerate its growth and improve the platform for artists and customers by delivering faster artist payments, as well as scale up customer recruitment to bring art to a wider audience of collectors and help more artists sell.