Explore the world of online business with Artfinder: sponsor and judge of SWArt London

Jonas Almgren, CEO of Artfinder, sponsor and judge of Startup Weekend Art London wants to help you own art you love.


Hi Jonas, tell us about Artfinder and your work.

I’m the CEO of  Artfinder, a marketplace for affordable art, allowing artists to reach art buyers globally. Similarly to Airbnb and Etsy, we market our sellers and enable all transactions, but we do not keep any stock and we do not fulfill any orders.


What’s great about the Artfinder marketplace?
Previously, art buyers looking for authentic, handmade art had to go to small, local galleries with a limited selection and inflated prices, and artists had no way to reach a global audience.  Our marketplace enable buyers to find affordable art they love, and artists to live from the art they produce.


Who buys from Artfinder?
Customers who want to add personality to their homes with affordable, unique art, and who aren’t happy with impersonal, mass produced posters and print-on-demand products.


How is Artfinder positioned against the competition?
We disrupt the market for mass produced wall décor, dominated by retailers such as Ikea and Pottery Barn, as people that previously thought handcrafted art was expensive and exclusive realise that they can buy truly unique, yet affordable, pieces with a real, lasting value.


What is your business model?

We are an online marketplace, and as such, we’re looking at other marketplaces, such as Airbnb and Etsy, for inspiration.


What type of skills do you need to develop your solutions/products?
We’re an online business, so we are always looking for software, design, marketing, and customer/partner relationship skills.


How did you choose and create your team?
As in any start-up, the team is the key. We’re looking for independent, self-driven people that are pragmatic and that can thrive in a fast paced, often fast changing (some would say chaotic), environment.


What are the top trends you see happening right now in the online businesses world?
Online businesses are still evolving very quickly, and new marketing and sales techniques are constantly being developed. It’s important to realise that we’re still just at the very beginning of online commerce, and even more so in the area of online marketplaces.


What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
To not fall in love with their business plan. Get out there, talk to prospects and customers, both before and after the business has been launched. Constantly test concepts, and make sure that you learn from every experience. Get smart, and adapt quickly.


Give us an idea for improving how we fund, make, share and enjoy art and culture?
Too much in the area of art funding has to do with events and venues. But the only direct way to fund artists is to buy their art. We need to focus more on selling art, and less on displaying it. More people should live with, and enjoy art every day, not just when they visit a museum or gallery.


How could the work you’ve done in your company be relevant to art promotion and enjoyment?
It’s about spreading the word that art is not expensive, it’s easy to buy, and it’s for everyone to enjoy.

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Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Startup Weekend Art London in October!

When the Internet of Things makes artworks smart

Mark DarbyshireMeet Mark Darbyshire, Managing Director at tagsmArt.



What is tagsmArt?

tagsmArt brings groundbreaking NFC (near field communication) technology to the creative sector. We work with artists, galleries, art fairs/projects, dealers and collectors to help promote, track and authenticate artworks of all kinds. tagsmArt represents the future of authentication and promotion of art employing NFC smart phone technology.

Our industry standard digital labelling system enables the creation of a persistent, live web profile and community for each work. End-users are able to interact with artworks using their smartphones or tablets. This can be physical by tapping an NFC enabled device on the smart label located on the work or associated signage.

Our wireless beacons for galleries and other spaces can also provide information to end-users remotely via our dedicated iPhone and Android App. Visitor movement can be tracked using our beacons.

In addition to distributing content, galleries and artists can offer related works, prints and merchandise for sale via the platform.

Our technology can also be used for inventory control, tracking and management of provenance information.

Here is how it works:

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What can tagsmArt help with?

  • tagsmArt directly addresses the evolving nature of the art business by encouraging the use of new technology and delivering smart solutions to the promotion, tracking and provenance of artworks.
  • tagsmArt is a powerful sales tool for artists and galleries. Sales of works of arts can be increased by providing customers with engaging content at the point of display and via works subsequent to sale.
  • tagsmArt offers improved consumer intelligence and service opportunities to customers by providing beacons for deployment in galleries, at events and other sites.
  • tagsmArt helps reduce the cost of marketing to consumers by providing a turnkey solution for publishing content to smartphones. This is also a paper-free and more eco-friendly approach to marketing and promotion.
  • tagsmArt helps to increase the value of authenticated items by providing a recognised, secure record of origination, ownership and provenance. This allows peace of mind for buyers that they are purchasing a genuine artwork, complete with an encrypted tamper-proof tag that can be used to verify the authenticity of the artwork at any future point.


Who is it for?

We work with artists, galleries, art fairs and projects, museums, dealers, collectors, corporate and public art advisors, art colleges and students, photographers, printers of photography and fine art… the art world at large!


How disruptive is your business? What do you do different from traditional/other solutions?

tagsmArt is at the cutting edge of the technological revolution underway in the art world. Our services are designed to meet the demands of existing and emerging art markets.

Our services are paper free and as such ecologically sound. Our platform gives end-users the opportunity to store and retrieve specific information about an artwork on their mobile device for later review or to share with work colleagues, family or friends. It allows a bespoke end-user journey through artworks and acts as a neat mobile storage system, which eradicates the need for carrying around wads of physical promotional materials.


Have you borrowed (and improved) tech that is more commonly used in other industry sectors?

We have adopted Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, adding our own security layer and developing proprietary physical ‘smart label’ formats. 


What type of skills do you need to develop your solutions/products?

tagsmArt is a synergy of technical and art world knowledge. We have a dedicated team of developers whose technical skills include mobile web and application development, security architecture and server-side database and API development. Equally integral to tagsmArt are our team members with a sound understanding and knowledge of the art world and expert account managers with the necessary sales and marketing skills to take the product successfully to market.


How did you choose and create your team?

We have drawn together experts from the tech and art worlds, as mentioned in answer to question 6. Myself and fellow Director Steve Cooke head-up the tagsmArt team.

I have 20 years’ experience working with galleries, artist and collectors at the highest level of art fabrication and fine art picture framing. I have an international spread of clients including Gagosian and White Cube Galleries and work closely with artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. This, coupled with the software development skills of Steve Cooke, led to the creation of a strong tagsmArt team.



What are the top trends you see happening right now in your area of expertise?

The art market is expanding online at a phenomenal rate. Many more art sales are being made via the internet without buyers seeing the physical work.

Although the art world has been a little technology averse to date this will not be the case in the future with galleries, artists and collectors engaging with the art market via emerging technologies, such as ours. This expansion via the internet will see a de-mystification of the art world and lead to a new accessibility where art becomes available to a larger, more diverse public.  

The ‘Internet of Things’ is a popular topic and closely relates to our work on ‘smart artworks’.


What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Enthusiasm and energy before money will win the day but also by using customer-centric methods to develop and test your solution.


Have you got an idea for improving how we fund, make, share and enjoy art and culture?

Education is key to engaging a larger audience with the art world. Technologies such as tagsmArt’s will play an important part in opening up the art world to a wider audience, offering comprehensive and insightful guides for the art enthusiast and the inquisitive onlooker.


How could the work you’ve done in your company be relevant to art promotion and enjoyment?

What tagsmArt offers could not be more relevant to art promotion and enjoyment! In summary, tagsmArt gives the user (gallery, collector etc.) a platform through which to share artwork specific information directly with end-users via their mobile device. The viewer is given the opportunity to interact with artworks via ‘the tap’ (using an NFC enabled device) or by way of our App, as they explore exhibits. It allows users to be taken on a personalised art journey and choose and save information about specific artworks they wish to revisit remotely and explore further at a later date.


Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Startup Weekend Art London in October!