Singaporean online art gallery The Artling raises US$1.78 million series A from Edipresse Media

Singaporean online art gallery The Artling raises US$1.78 million series A from Edipresse Media

Singapore-based The Artling Pte Ltd, owner of Asian online art platform, theArtling.com, and luxury marketplace Luxglove.com, has closed an investment of S$2.5 million (about US$1.78 million) from Edipresse Media, a luxury lifestyle media company in Asia and Europe.

Commenting on the funding, the founder of The Artling – Talenia Phua Gajardo said, “With our strength as the leader in this rapidly growing space, this Series A round enhances The Artling’s role as a digital storefront that connects artists in Asia with the world.”

At the same time, The Artling has also secured their expansion into Hong Kong and Greater China via the acquisition of Artshare.com, an online platform for the exhibition and sale of Chinese contemporary art. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013, the Artshare’s brand will be fully incorporated into the Singaporean company while the Artshare founder, Alexandre Errera will continue to work with the group as an art advisor to Artshare.com, focusing on Chinese contemporary art, and blue-chip modern and contemporary Western art.

With this acquisition, The Artling is aiming to grow its presence in Asia’s online art market, to become one of the most dynamic and ambitious companies in Asia online art market.

Also founded in 2013, The Artling platform was launched by Talenia Phua Gajardo when she started sourcing artworks for interior design projects. Prior to this, Gajardo was from an architectural background and has previously worked for Zaha Hadid in London.

The Artling launched its second platform Luxglove.com last year which is an online luxury collectibles marketplace dedicated to seven verticals, some of which include pre-owned and vintage jewelry, watches, classic automobiles, and whiskey.

Recently, the platform closed the sale of a vintage classic car and a S$85,000 (about US$59,600) bottle of 50-year old Yamazaki single malt, reaffirming the rapidly growing trend of high-priced items being discovered and purchased online.

“We’ve been keeping things lean for a while and have had an extremely conservative burn rate to date,” Talenia said. “Both platforms are now at the stage where we need to ramp up and expand.”

The startup will use the funding to hire more people and focus on marketing, two areas in which it has held off on previously in order to control its spending. The Artling will also be moving into a larger space as the team continues to grow.

Michel Lamunière, the Chairman and CEO of Edipresse Media Asia commented on the funding, saying that, “Our investment in The Artling is in line with our strategy to reinforce our position in the digital media and e-commerce spaces in Asia. Art and luxury products are increasingly being bought online, and The Artling, under the leadership of Talenia, is in the best position to become the leading platform in Asia in this segment.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Malaysian venture capital firm TinkBig to launch US$30 million fund

Malaysian venture capital firm TinkBig to launch US$30 million fund

Malaysian venture capital firm TinkBig Venture is seeking for potential startups to be part of their US$30 million investment that is said to launch towards the end of 2017.

As for details about TinkBig’s investment verticals, the VC firm’s second vehicle will allocate at least 10 percent for IoT Smart Homes focused companies in 2017.

“We will be targeting regional investment around Asia highly focused on marketing right and royalty deal structuring. We are currently looking into Taiwan and Shenzhen IoT players to bring these products to Southeast Asia market,” serial entrepreneur and TinkBig’s founding partner Andrew Tan said.

Founded in July 2016, TinkBig is a comparatively new venture capital firm in the country. In addition, the VC firm to date has invested about US$2.4 million in eight companies, mostly consumer-based.

Among its investment portfolio, includes BurgieLaw – an intermediary platform between startups and the legal industry, Refash – a Singapore-based pre-loved fashion portal; and GOtixs – a platform for promotion and savings.

For most of its investments, the VC firm had picked up a stake ranging between 7.5 percent to 15 percent while maintaining a general ticket size of between RM500k to RM3 million, which translates to approximately US$112k to US$672k.

Likewise, the new US$30 million fund will also maintain a similar ticket size whereby it will be targeting early-stage companies in their seed round which displays a good product/market fit.

Formed by a team of 11 seasoned entrepreneurs, the VC firm is led by Venture Partner Andrew Tan, Principal Partner Jin Tan and Tech Partner Nitin Gupta, who before TinkBig, each have about 20 experiences in business, investment and tech.

The team, through Tinkbig, aims to help startup throughout the process of ideation to commercialisation. Besides, the incubator process also involved a live pitching resembling a reality show which helps prepare startups.

Looking to raise the funds by the third quarter of 2017, TinkBig has completed just about 20 percent of the funding for this new vehicle largely from investors who include entrepreneurs, high net worth individuals, and listed companies.

“The market is getting soft as Limited Partners are getting cautious. However, this reluctance to invest is not because of a scarcity of good investment options,” Andrew Tan, the Principal Partner of TinkBig explained.

In fact, long exit windows and lack of sufficient secondary data to conduct due diligence along with diminishing returns have made limited partners become cautious. “It’s going to be a very challenging moment for 2017 to raise funds from LPs,” Tan adds.

“We are looking into the space of functionally designed prop that essentially becomes your smartphone’s best friend within seconds. Remote-controlled devices such as TV, air conditioner, sound system etc, and the user’s smartphone learns the device and lets the user control it from the phone itself using Bluetooth,” Tan also noted.

Besides, IoT Smart homes which are mostly based in Singapore, Japan, and China are increasingly becoming an area where many want to engage and invest.

“I would say IoT smart homes is a very promising area and billion dollar market,” Tan noted. “I believe 2017 will be the year that IoT is going to be one of the hottest topics in the investment scene with functional IoT devices that are going automated and provide convenient to daily lifestyle.”

TinkBig intends to fill the gap in Malaysia for a VC fund which not only supports its investments via a holistic approach but also to create an ecosystem for success rather than just providing capital.

“If we find interesting startups we will introduce them to relevant corporate partners. For example, we would introduce an IoT company who specialise in energy saving product we would connect them to our developer partners who have a lot of industry experience that can be leveraged to help the startup fine-tune its product,” he said.

With a focus on Southeast Asia, the firm has a strong foothold in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand. The company is also currently exploring opportunities in Vietnam.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media