Public House of Art (PHOA), the art platform with the provoking motto: ‘we are not a f*cking gallery’ has raised € 1.5 million from Q2Q Capital.
The company intends to use the capital raised to accelerate its growth and international expansion. ‘Our strategy for the coming 18 months is to invest heavily in branding and the online platform, showcasing our collections at pop-up stores and art fares around the world. Looking at the near future you can expect to get a feel and experience the artwork for example at places like the warehouse Bijenkorf or Amsterdam airport Schiphol and order the artwork online ‘ the founder of PHOA, Sid Sand, said to StartupJuncture.
Sand who previously made money in the recycling industry and started in his 20’s with collecting art bankrolled the initial development of the platform up to 1 million euro himself. Six months later Maarten Bitter, former CMO of the travel startup TravelBird, joined the company as shareholder and the one responsible for the online strategy of the company.
The startup aims to run the company in a similar fashion as the fashion industry. It collaborates with international artists to curate bi-annual, thematic exhibitions. Sand: “Similar to the fashion industry we focus on developing a particular theme that captures the zeitgeist. Our artist are then asked to craft their art around the particular theme for the season.”
Sand said that PHOA is right now more akin to a art residence kind of institution than a gallery. Hence the aforementioned slogan. This means that artist don’t get paid much, but more than average marketing attention under a wider, younger and and more international demographic. “Right now we are experimenting with our revenue model,” says Sand.
The company intends to make a splash in the traditional art industry by doing almost everything differently and attacking it head-on. Its marketing approach is proactive and rebelling, setting itself apart from the status quo. PHOA does this by claiming that it’s fighting against the snobbish, academic, expensive and inaccessible nature of the art industry. The startup is born out of the personal frustration of Sand about the prejudice that art fans face in the industry if they are not part of the incrowd. Its product offering is also different in selling art: it only sells four sizes. House, Villa, Mansion and Castle. The prices range from € 100 for the smallest size to € 2,000 for the largest.
Dubai-based multi-family office Q2Q Capital, the investment in PHOA is its first public investment. Founded in 2011 the company has offices in Dubai and London. It was founded by Muhammed Yesilhark, an experienced investor and hedge fund manager who was previously Head of European Equities at Carmignac, an asset management company with $56 billion under management. “We have identified a compelling combination of structural market growth and an outstanding management team to capitalise on the opportunity’ says Yesilhark about his decision to invest in PHOA. Adding: We are looking forward to being long-term value-added partners for Public House of Art in its mission to make quality art more accessible to consumers.”
Photo Credit: Chris Barbalis