Putting the "art" in startup: UK art marketplace Artfinder raises $2.2m

Emma Haslett
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The Artfinder website
The website allows its users to find art at an affordable price (Source: Artfinder)

UK art startup Artfinder said today it has raised $2.2m (£1.7m) - some of which came from the man behind the Amazon Echo.

The company, which bills itself as an art marketplace, said it had brought on a new VC investor, Oxford Capital - and the round was also backed by William Tunstall-Pedoe, the Cambridge AI guru who founded Evi, which later became Amazon's Alexa.

With more than 250,000 artworks for sale, Artfinder says it's encouraging people to "buy art instead of going to Ikea", creating a mass market for "affordable, original art".

Read more: Start with a blank canvas: How to invest in the art market

It's going to use the money to accelerate its US growth and add machine learning capabilities to its visual search technology.

Jonas Almgren, its founder, said: “The potential for growth in marketplaces for handmade goods in specific verticals such as art is huge - this is a mass market proposition, and we’re very clear about our mission to get away from ‘the art world’ - something we are realising both through our new brand and our tech focus."

Tunstall-Pedoe added: “The company is making great progress with its platform that links artists with art fanatics like myself interested in buying original works. In investing I was particularly interested in how advanced technology could accelerate the significant growth that Artfinder is already seeing."

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