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You have to hand it to Artsy for its skill in garnering publicity. This week's announcement that the art marketing site had raised an additional $50m, on top of the $51m already invested, coincided with feature-length profiles of the company in Fast Company and on The Verge that present the company's story in the most positive and hopeful terms.
Artsy's publicist knows his audience. These tech-happy publications are all-too-eager to declare yet another 'vertical' cracked by technology. And it does appear that Artsy has finally found a business model to invest in after spending much (or all?) of that initial $51m hiring 140 folks to build a variety of projects aimed at capturing the flow of the art curious.
In December, C-level Artsy execs were telling people at Art Basel in Miami that the company was close to profitability but another capital raise might be coming to expand into Asia.
Eight months later, Artsy issues a press release that says the $50m in new capital was coming from a group of old investors ready to re-up on the company's fast-growing auction business. According to Artsy's rep, 56 investors participated in the round, including a number who already have skin in the game.
Combine this with the fact that the new money is not all equity and comes with a board seat for investor Andrew Sugrue. Taken together, these announcements suggest Artsy has found a more promising business model than charging galleries to list inventory.
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