They select emerging contemporary artists. You choose and invest in shares of their artworks. You trade the shares you own. They manage the artworks and rent them. Your earn when they rent artworks you own.
They are Feral Horses, a brand-new art start-up running an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. We met with them to find out more about their project and how their attempt is about to change the art market.
Francesco Bellanca is the Co-Founder and CEO of the project based in London.
OLIVER*: Hi Francesco and thank you for your time. We know you are pretty busy at the moment as you are in the midst of your campaign…
FRANCESCO BELLANCA: Hi Oliver* and thank you for having us!
O*: Tell us more about your project…
FB: It’s a little bit cliché but Feral Horses was co-founded by a young Italo-French team under 20 years old who met at university in London. We wanted to democratize the art industry and make the overall art market more accessible to the crowd.
After conducting extensive market research for three years, we launched the Art Stock Exchange in Spring 2017. Through its online trading platform that allows customers to co-own artworks, by buying and trading shares, the company helps bridge the gap between art enthusiasts and the traditional stakeholders with a unique proposition: micro art investments.
We wanted to democratize the art industry and make the overall art market more accessible to the crowds.
Therefore, thanks to this new initiative, with as little as a fiver, art lovers will finally get the opportunity to endorse an artist, his works, and ultimately his creative journey, whilst building a micro investment portfolio all at the same time!
O*: Data and art is a clever combination: how are you going to innovate the art industry?
FB: I earned an MA in Big Data in Culture and Society from King’s College and it tremendously helped me in shaping my vision of the market. The ultimate goal of the platform is to democratise the art market. “Democratise” because traditionally speaking, the art industry has been perceived as elitist, with high barriers to entry and a huge lack of transparency. Indeed, the art investment market as it is remains greatly inefficient because it only capitalizes on major collectors and investment funds, omitting the majority of art enthusiasts and potential investors. If we manage to educate these players on how important transparency is and what really is at stake here we will see a real change.
O*: What’s the main takeway of your fundraising journey?
FB: Our crowdfunding campaign has been a great opportunity to test the waters and see how people respond to and interact with our project. Through the great interest people have shown in Feral we have gathered very interesting in-depth feedback via the discussion section, whilst establishing a large but most importantly a broad support base of 100+ investors.
The art investment market as it is remains greatly inefficient because it only capitalises on major collectors and investment funds, omitting the majority of art enthusiasts and potential investors.
O*: What’s your piece of advice for other startuppers eager to run a crowdfunding campaign?
FB: Evidently the secret to a successful crowdfunding campaign is preparation. It is paramount to envisage every possible scenario before the launch. Be ready to test, keep track and iterate! Crowdfunding is now a very common activity and the environment is extremely competitive. It is very important to come up with the right angle and try to find channels that your competitors are leaving on the side to create momentum. Last thing, never try to sell your crowdfunding campaign as a tax reduction opportunity. It’s great to benefit from EIS or SEIS, it really is. We have the SEIS tag ourselves on Seedrs. But, if the only exciting thing about investing in your startup is getting a tax break it tells a lot about your company.