Fuelled by the rise of younger, tech-savvy collectors, art sales via online channels have doubled in number in the recent years. However, the shipping options available to customers all over the world have still not been built for this digital age of buying art. Traditional shipping providers can take from 1 to 5 days to issue customers with quotes to ship their high-value, time-critical items.
Betting big on the immense potential of the logistics chain in the art world, Paris-based tech-led fine art shipping company Convelio has now raised $35 million (€30 million) funding. The Series B round was led by venture capital firms Forestay and Mundi Ventures and saw the participation of The European Investment Fund and existing investors, including Acton Capital and Global Founders Capital.
According to the company, the investment is one of the largest ever made into an art logistics business globally. The startup had earlier raised €9 million in Series A in 2020.
The funding will support further development of Convelio’s logistics technology, customer service offering and sustainability strategy. It will enable the group to expand headcount worldwide, with particular focus on its largest market, the U.S., where it plans to double the existing workforce. The capital raised will also be used to drive ESG projects and adapt the company’s service offering to reduce the impact on the planet.
Founded in 2017 by Edouard Gouin and Clément Ouizille, the French startup enables auction houses, galleries and private art collectors all over the world to access the first instant quoting tool for competitively priced logistics services. As soon as the customer places an order, the platform takes care of everything, starting from shipping to insurance, customs and real-time tracking.
Its current focus is on specialised logistics in the art, antiques, and luxury furniture markets that are cumulatively valued at more than $5 billion in the U.S., U.K., and Europe alone. This segment forms part of the world’s $1.6 trillion ‘high-value, time-critical and non-palletised’ goods market, which itself forms almost 20% of the global logistics market worth $7.4 trillion annually.
Edouard Gouin, co-founder and managing director, Convelio said: “This funding will fuel our efforts in technology, contribute to expanding our offering and help us expand our global footprint, particularly in the U.S., our fastest-growing market.”
Clément Ouizille, co-founder and managing director, Convelio added: “Backing from two more leading technology investors reflects the size of the opportunity in our reach, as the world art market continues to grow and adapts to the new digital norms.”
The company saw over 14,000 shipments with a cumulative value of $265 million between over 80 countries worldwide in 2021. Annual revenues multiplied by 2.5x and the number of customers the startup served doubled to almost 3,000. Its customer base includes global art market giants such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips.