Interesting press release from Paddle 8:
Paddle8, the leading secondary marketplace for art and luxury collectibles, today announced $34M in Series C funding, bringing the company’s total fundraising to $44M. New investors represented an array of notable figures from the worlds of technology, art and luxury, including newest Paddle8 board member David Zwirner, one of the most influential international art dealers; German collector and investor Rolf Sachs; Eric Fellner, co-chairman of Working Title Films; and Edgar Berger, Chairman and CEO International of Sony Music Entertainment.
The round also saw participation from existing investors including Mousse Partners, a luxury investment firm whose previous investments include Warby Parker, Paperless Post, and Bonobos, as well as art-world insiders including artist Damien Hirst; Jay Jopling, the founder of White Cube Gallery; and Stavros Niarchos, a collector and entrepreneur.
With an existing community of over 500,000 collectors from more than 90 countries, Paddle8 will use the injection of capital to expand its global presence both in the U.S. and Europe and to hire top talent across all major areas of the business. Particular focus will be placed on growing its engineering team, as well as bringing in category specialists from areas such as vintage accessories and design.
Additionally, Paddle8 will use this influx of cash to continue to make mobile bidding and selling even easier by investing in their app and mobile capabilities, helping to better serve their global nomad and millennial users. With a 37% increase in mobile traffic, and 10% increase in mobile bids in just the past three months, mobile will continue to be a major focus throughout 2015.
“We are truly interested in how Paddle8 uses technology to bring innovation in the art world—which has historically been resistant to change—through smart digital platforms. Paddle8 is a solid brand that has already established itself as a trusted source within the art community. I am impressed by its founders’ creativity and analytical abilities, and they certainly know their business. We look forward to partnering with them and playing a role in their continued growth and success,” said David Zwirner.
Overall, Paddle8 has been experiencing a period of rapid growth, broadening the scope of the business beyond the buying and selling of fine art to incorporate auctions of design and furniture in 2014 and, more recently, vintage men’s and women’s accessories, music and film memorabilia, art toys, and other collectibles. Total revenues in 2014 totaled $35.8 million—a 146% increase from 2013 and ahead of any competitor in the space—with total revenue in the first half of 2015 reaching $25M. Additionally, Paddle8 has experienced a year-over-year growth of 17% in the average sales price in for-profit auctions.