Tech-led fine art shipping startup, Convelio, has just raised €30 million to accelerate its global expansion after a bumper year.
The fresh funding for the Paris-based startup is considered the largest investment ever made into an arts logistics business. It was led by new investors Forestay and Mundi Ventures. The European Investment Fund and existing investors Acton Capital and Global Founders Capital also participated in the round.
Founded in 2017 by Edouard Gouin and Clément Ouizille, Convelio is powered by proprietary optimised pricing technology to enable auction houses, galleries and private art collectors all over the world to access the first instant quoting tool for competitively priced logistics services. As soon as a customer places an order, Convelio takes care of everything, from shipping to insurance, customs and real-time tracking.
Managing Director and Co-Founder, Edouard Gouin said: “We are very pleased to welcome Forestay and Mundi Ventures as financial investors. Both investors align closely with our values on innovation and supportive, sustainable relationships. They believe in our vision to be leaders in the industry. This funding will fuel our efforts in technology, contribute to expanding our offering and help us expand our global footprint, particularly in the US, our fastest-growing market”.
The founders launched Convelio after discovering that although art sales via online channels have doubled in number in recent years fuelled by the rise of younger, tech-savvy collectors, the shipping options available to customers all over the world were not built for this digital age of buying art.
Traditional shipping providers can take from 1 to 5 days to issue customers with quotes to ship their high-value, time-critical items. Convelio’s online quoting system provides quotes within seconds, using proprietary algorithmic technology that assesses multiple data points instantaneously across the entire logistics chain.
While incumbent shipping companies often quote customers fees worth up to 50% of the value of the item due to be shipped, Convelio is able to offer quotes that are up to 46% cheaper than competitors’. With a tech-led approach to the marketplace, the resulting automation means that Convelio customers benefit from a faster, easier service that is also more friendly on wallets.
Marieke Christmann, Senior Principal at Forestay commented: “Convelio is disrupting a huge industry that’s competitive, demanding but inherently slow to change. The speed at which this team is winning business away from competitors in what’s traditionally been a close-knit community of auction houses, galleries and shippers is hugely impressive. Convelio is on an aggressive global journey to transform an outmoded way of shipping that we are excited to support”.
In 2021, Convelio expanded significantly and the company was responsible for 14,000 shipments with a cumulative value of $265 million between over 80 countries worldwide. Annual revenues multiplied by 2.5x and the number of customers the startup served doubled to almost 3,000. Today, Convelio’s customer base includes global art market giants such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips. Convelio tripled its team to support growing customer demand; most of its 200 employees are based in the art world capitals of Paris, New York and London.
Cécile Bernard, Worldwide Head of Operations at Sotheby’s, commented: “The art market is moving online and touching more and more buyers, and to address our clients’ needs we are doubling down on our digital strategy. Convelio’s solutions are pivotal in this endeavour. Their one-stop-shop approach is allowing us to rapidly serve a greater number of clients with a single integration while streamlining the work of the teams in charge”.
The investment will support further development of Convelio’s logistics technology, customer service offering and sustainability strategy. Convelio places sustainability at the heart of its mission to bring art logistics into the future and the funds will be used to drive ESG projects and adapt the company’s service offering to reduce the impact on the planet. Responding to increasing customer demand, Convelio will further expand headcount worldwide, with a particular focus on the US – the startup’s largest market – in 2022 the team plan to more than double from 30 to 70.
Javier Santiso, CEO and partner at Mundi Ventures commented: “On its current growth trajectory and with its ambitious 2022 expansion plans now in train, Convelio stands to become a leading shipping partner for valuable goods worldwide, not just in the art and antiques market but far more broadly over time wherever high quality, trusted, dependable shipping is required”.