Swiss art tech startup Artmyn raises €3.6 million for its new tech to make art ‘touchable with the eyes’

alexandre-catsicas-ceo

Artmyn is a Swiss art tech company reshaping the way art is experienced, promoted and secured online. The startup has just raised €3.6 million in convertible notes, co-led by Invaluable, an online marketplace for fine art, antiques and collectables, along with participation from existing investors. As part of the investment, Invaluable CEO Rob Weisberg will join Artmyn’s board of directors.

Based in Saint-Sulpice, Artmyn makes artwork accessible, browsable and ‘touchable with the eyes’. The company has developed a new, non-invasive technology for unprecedented transparency and security in the art market, at a fraction of industry cost.

Every scanned artwork is now systematically visible in ultra-high definition under Infrared, ultra-violet and visible light spectrum.

Until now, in the absence of the physical artwork itself, buyers, sellers and art lovers have relied on 2D images to discover art – a means which does not transmit the entire range of emotion a piece of artwork has to offer, and does not allow for the appreciation of texture, techniques, and gestures of an artist.

More importantly for art dealers and buyers, a two-dimensional image often makes it difficult to make a purchase decision, as a flat image simply does not convey sufficient information regarding the artwork’s condition and authenticity.

The company will use the funds to deploy its scanners at Invaluable’s partner auction houses across the world by the end of the year. In addition to the existing scanning capacities, the devices are now also equipped with a new infrared feature, which allows to capture underlayers, sketches and markings underneath the visible surface of an artwork.

“Until today in the art world, infrared analysis was reserved to rare works, and upon request only – Artmyn not only automates this procedure during the scanning process, but also makes it completely safe, and at no additional cost,” said Artmyn co-founder and CEO Alexandre Catsicas.

“As a result, we expect a lot of unforseen discoveries, from secret touch ups and preliminary drawings to hidden signatures or dates, to an entire painting hidden underneath the surface of a canvas. This of course, is a major step forward for when it comes to expertisation, authentication and the overall available information about an artwork.” 

The move – an expansion of an exclusive year-long partnership between Invaluable and Artmyn – is aimed at dramatically changing how art is experienced, bought and sold at auction, said Weisberg.

“We’re excited to invest in Artmyn because the combination of its incredible technology with Invaluable’s marketplace of the world’s top auction houses will revolutionise the art market,” said Weisberg. “It will allow auction houses to treat every piece of art like a masterpiece.”

“This technology will give our auction house partners a new, powerful and unique tool to win consignments, drive sell-through and vastly improve the digital art buying experience. It adds value at all stages of an auction house sale-cycle,” he added. “This investment also directly addresses two critical areas in the online art market – transparency and buyer confidence.”

Artmyn’s proprietary hardware and technology captures tens of thousands of photographs with different light sources and spectrums. Ultraviolet light allows for restorations and other surface changes that are invisible to the naked-eye, whereas the recently added infrared feature allows to see details hidden under the visible top layer.

Artmyn’s scanners produce an interactive ultra-high resolution view of the artwork with over 1.5 billion pixels, and an immersive video, browsable with different light orientations, under visible light, ultraviolet, and now infrared.

Artmyn’s technology is designed to fluidify the art market and boost online sales by removing the limitations of plain 2D images.

In terms of security and transparency, the scanner captures the DNA of a piece of artwork, generating a digital fingerprint that makes the original impossible to forge. The digital file facilitates research and identification in case of theft, disappearance or damage. It also allows dealers and owners to monitor the condition of a given artwork over time – after a shipment, a storage or a restoration, among other events.

“Artmyn offers our clients a unique way to showcase artworks online when they are up for auction and hence, to attract more buyers,” said auction house Tajan’s Head of Communications and Marketing Romain Monteaux-Sarmiento. “This technology is going to help create the art marketplace of the 21st century.”

In May 2019, Artmyn opened a new digitisation center in Geneva’s Freeport, a warehouse complex that is said to hold the greatest amount of art of any storage in the world. The scanning center caters to private owners, professionals such as gallerists and artists, and cultural institutions including museums and foundations.

“This technology provides me with unmatched tools for expertisation and a highly accurate way to determine the condition of an artwork before and after transportation or an exhibition. This is crucial information in case of insurance litigations,” said Pierre-Antoine Héritier, a fine art restorer at Geneva Freeport.

Interested in art tech startups? Check out our article from earlier this year, 10 art tech startups to look out for in 2019. Looking for new startups in a particular sector for an investment or acquisition? Check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

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