Online Fine Art Auction House Auctionata Closes New Round

By David Knight |

Berlin-based startup Auctionata has closed a new round featuring Earlybird, Bright Capital and Kite Ventures just a year after being founded, for reported total funding of $20.2 million (€15.6m). The online platform “covers the entire spectrum” of auction house services; from those of its offline counterparts, such as expert curation form its 250 experts, to fine art online auctions with HDTV-quality production.

Auctionata’s stated aim is to open the international art, antiques and collectibles markets to new consumers through the Internet. It will use the new funding – which follows earlier investment from HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, eVenture Capital Partners and the Raffay Group – for global expansion, increasing the workforce and technology platform growth.

Claiming to be the first patented online producer of live auctions, Auctionata says its full service reaches millions of private sellers, collectors and dealers, who find it difficult to sell in regional and highly fragmented, old-style auction houses. And for buyers, the company hopes to add a degree of the thrill of being in a real life auction to your living room.

A headline moment is coming up on June 21 with the sale of an original watercolor by Egon Schiele at a starting price of $1.5m (€1.2m) in an online live auction from the company’s TV studio. Alexander Zacke, the Auctionata CEO, said: “Unlike traditional auction houses, where the excitement naturally falls off after each auction, the combination of online auctions and online shop generates a high experience factor for potential buyers and sellers alike.”

Dr. Christian Nagel, co-founder and partner at Earlybird, said: “We look for companies with the potential to be global market leaders. Auctionata sells objects that attract interest worldwide – up to and including the level of Egon Schiele. No other online vendor serves this market segment. Auctionata’s business model was developed by two founding figures with decades of experience in both the art market and online business.”

Auctionata has offices in Berlin and New York with a total of 100 employees and its experts have already appraised objects valued at more than €70m. Founded by Alexander Zacke and Georg Untersalmberger, its online shop went live in September 2012.