Start-up Artoui collects one million euros

András Dobi (left), Benjamin Gibner, Caniel Cid Gómez

The Artoui founders are raising capital to expand their art platform.

(Photo: Artoui)

Munich Three men, three completely different biographies, one common goal: With their start-up Artoui, Benjamin Gibner, Daniel Cid Gómez and András Dobi want to create a top address for artists, collectors and companies. They should come together on the platform, both on the Internet and on site. For this goal, the Munich team collected one million euros at the beginning of the year.

“We see the potential for successful international scaling at Artoui,” says investor Andreas Knürr. The team and the innovative positioning inspired him from the start, explains the entrepreneur, who got involved through his investment company K&K1.

“Artoui could become an established brand in the art world in the years to come. That’s why we wanted to participate as early as possible,” says Knürr, who is also the founder and head of the Munich software company Timify.

Artoui has so far had two areas: corporate customer business and online sales of art to private individuals. A separate showroom in downtown Munich will soon be added.

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However, there is fierce competition in the art trade. Competitors like Lumas have been using a franchise model and a combination of online sales and stores for years. Well-known auction houses such as Ketterer from Munich are now also selling online.

Artoui photographs for hotels

Artoui has a slightly different focus than the competition. In their B2B area, the Munich company offers commissioned productions. For example, they furnished the Hotel Luc on Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt with photographs. Partner Dobi took the photos, and the works of art were reproduced in Gabner’s printing works in the east of Munich. Most recently, Artoui stocked a hotel in Basel with several hundred photos. The works of art are also available on the Artoui homepage.

In business with private individuals, the founders currently sell the works of more than 60 artists via their Internet shop. There are three categories of art to choose from. First, originals that sometimes cost tens of thousands of euros. Secondly, the so-called “Limited Edition”, in which the artists determine the number of pieces in which their works are to be offered and on which materials – brushed aluminum, for example, or glass laminate. Thirdly, “Tailored Art”: Here the buyers can specify which material they want and in which sizes they would like the works of art.

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Benjamin Gibner, 33, is responsible for printing. The entrepreneur set up his own business in his early 20s and set up his own print shop. Daniel Cid Gómez, 45, studied business informatics, is a former banker and has been running a gallery in Munich for 15 years. The native Spaniard is not only familiar with the art scene, he is also the technological mastermind of the trio.

András Dobi takes care of the selection of the artists. The former ballet dancer from Hungary is an art photographer.

“It’s a concept that gives artists better marketing opportunities than they’ve ever had,” says Yussof Knauss. The former head of the Heye advertising agency is a photographer and sells his work through Artoui. The Munich publisher has also invested in the project: “I am convinced that this will be a big deal,” emphasizes the 84-year-old.

An Artoui shop in Munich city

Wife Claudia Knauss is on board both as a sponsor and as a curator. The art connoisseur was the managing partner of Heye Verlag for many years and says: “Investing in something like this is just fun.”

The trio will soon be opening a so-called “Concept Gallery” in the center of Munich. “People want to see original works of art on site,” emphasizes founder Gómez. When it comes to works for tens of thousands of euros, it is important to have an exhibition space. The store is also important for attracting other artists, emphasizes partner Gibner.

It shouldn’t stay with the gallery on the Isar. Gibner says: “Our goal is to scale the platform.” The name should be so strong that gallery owners in other cities will also use the Artoui brand for their shops.

According to their own statements, the founders have so far invested a quarter of a million euros in the platform. They hope to raise a double-digit million amount for their project from investors. Artoui is already in the black, the partners assert. In these economically turbulent times, potential financiers like to hear that.

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