SOURCE: Paddle8

Paddle8

October 28, 2015 07:30 ET

Paddle8 Raises $34 Million in Series C Funding

World's Leading Secondary Marketplace for Art and Luxury Collectibles Attracts New Funding To Focus on International Expansion, New Categories & Hiring; Gallerist David Zwirner Joins Paddle8 Board

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Oct 28, 2015) - Paddle8, the leading secondary marketplace for art and luxury collectibles, today announced $34M in Series C funding, bringing the company's total fundraising to $44M. New investors represented an array of notable figures from the worlds of technology, art and luxury, including newest Paddle8 board member David Zwirner, one of the most influential international art dealers; German collector and investor Rolf Sachs; Eric Fellner, co-chairman of Working Title Films; and Edgar Berger, Chairman and CEO International of Sony Music Entertainment.

The round also saw participation from existing investors including Mousse Partners, a luxury investment firm whose previous investments include Warby Parker, Paperless Post, and Bonobos; and art-world insiders including artist Damien Hirst; Jay Jopling, the founder of White Cube Gallery; and Stavros Niarchos, a collector and entrepreneur.

With an existing community of over 500,000 collectors from more than 90 countries, Paddle8 will use the injection of capital to expand its global presence both in the U.S. and Europe and to hire top talent across all major areas of the business. Particular focus will be placed on growing its engineering team, as well as bringing in category specialists from areas such as vintage accessories and design.

Additionally, Paddle8 will use this influx of cash to continue to make mobile bidding and selling even easier by investing in their app and mobile capabilities, helping to better serve their global nomad and millennial users. With a 37% increase in mobile traffic, and 10% increase in mobile bids in just the past three months, mobile will continue to be a major focus throughout 2015.

"We are truly interested in how Paddle8 uses technology to bring innovation in the art world -- which has historically been resistant to change -- through smart digital platforms. Paddle8 is a solid brand that has already established itself as a trusted source within the art community. I am impressed by its founders' creativity and analytical abilities and they certainly know their business. We look forward to partnering with them and playing a role in their continued growth and success," said David Zwirner.

Overall, Paddle8 has been experiencing a period of rapid growth, broadening the scope of the business beyond the buying and selling of fine art to incorporate auctions of design and furniture in 2014 and, more recently, vintage men's and women's accessories, music and film memorabilia, art toys and other collectibles. Total revenues in 2014 totaled $35.8 million -- a 146% increase from 2013 and ahead of any competitor in the space -- with total revenue in the first half of 2015 reaching $25M. Additionally, Paddle8 has experienced a year-over-year growth of 17% in the average sales price in for-profit auctions.

"This is a crucial time for the art and luxury markets. With collectible luxury goods rapidly attracting a larger global audience, and more people viewing high-end collectibles as a meaningful investment, the demand is only set to increase," says Edgar Berger, who has previously invested individually in tech companies including Palantir, Pillow and washio. "It's clear that Paddle8 is positioned to take a large share of the market as it's both mobile and easily accessible -- perfectly aligned with the behavior and demands of today's buyer. I see a tremendous opportunity to build on Paddle8's current success, and am excited to be aligned with a company that encourages even more people to enter the world of collecting."

"Paddle8 was founded to fill an existing gap in the market for an accessible, trusted and well-designed online marketplace for collectors to buy and sell art and high-end luxury collectibles. For us, it wasn't only about making the buying and selling process easier, it was about democratizing art and innovating in an industry that seemed resistant to change," said Osman Khan, co-founder of Paddle8. "With this investment, we'll be able to not only make the Paddle8 experience even more seamless, but also bring access to art and luxury collectibles to more people both within the U.S. and around the globe."

About Paddle8
Paddle8 is the leading secondary marketplace for art and luxury collectibles worldwide. Breaking down many of the traditional barriers to art dealing and collecting, the company offers both veteran and novice investors or collectors a seamless online process to discover, sell and purchase art works, furniture, jewelry and luxury collectibles through for-profit auctions, non-profit auctions and private sales. Servicing a community of more than 500,000 collectors worldwide, Paddle8 combines the taste and trust of a traditional auction house with the efficiency and global reach of the Internet to create a destination that makes it simple for collectors to buy and sell. Led by co-founders Alexander Gilkes, Aditya Julka, and Osman Khan, Paddle8 was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in New York, with additional offices in Los Angeles and London. Paddle8 is funded by the investors behind Uber, Vimeo, Buzzfeed, Paperless Post, Warby Parker, and Bonobos, among others, as well as art-world insiders including Rolf Sachs, Stavros Niarchos, Damien Hirst, Jay Jopling and David Zwirner. For more information, visit Paddle8.com.