During the lockdown last year, I sat down to watch FounderFuel demo day where startups pitch their company to the community. It was hosted by the brilliant Katy Yam from Real Ventures. They pulled off a fantastic event despite all the restrictions in place. One startup in particular caught my eye. Guillaume Parent was on the virtual stage pitching this startup, Gallea.
Their pitch was very compelling. They are providing artists with a platform to sell or lend their artwork in a managed marketplace. I reached out to Guillaume and asked him to be a guest on the podcast and luckily he accepted. I got to learn more about Gallea and what they are building, and I was left in awe. As we concluded the interview, I asked Guillaume to keep in touch and cheekily asked that I would be interested to invest in the future. Fast-forward a few months, Gallea just closed their seed funding this past week, and I’m happy to be part of the journey!
Why there is so much potential
The existing art market hasn’t changed much over the last few decades. If you are an artist, you are hoping to gain exposure in a gallery where people can walk in and discover your work. For an artist, only 32% of their art will ever leave their studio and only 6% of artists will ever be exhibited. There are 30 million independent artists who are forced to rely on luck to get matched to an exhibitor. You can see why this model doesn’t make sense anymore in the digital age. Gallea is working to change this.
Gallea already has 8,000 artists across 37 countries with an exhibitor network across the country. They are building a managed marketplace for art by empowering artists to showcase their work online and offline. The online art gallery features pieces of art available for purchase. For physical exhibitors, they also have access to buy or host art on a massive scale. This is not just about discoverability, any physical location can now decide to exhibit art and elevate their customer experience. Hotels, restaurants, or offices can bring art into their spaces and by doing so help artists gain more exposure and economic opportunities.
As you can see, I’m super bullish on what the team is doing because there are many options for them to create value. For instance, they have built a subscription platform for artists that allows them to access more distribution opportunities & gain additional support.
For individual art lovers, Gallea offers an art advisory service where users can see prints on their own wall before a potential purchase.
The term “starving artist” exists for a reason. Artists have a difficult time making ends meet. Gallea has the potential to change that. By radically expanding the addressable market, anyone can become an art exhibitor. This will increase the demand for art by an order of magnitude. Making art accessible will help people enjoy more art and bring more economic freedom to artists.