New Zealand company takes art gallery experience online

Photo credit; Les Haines on Flickr

Photo credit; Les Haines on Flickr

Auckland-based takes the Asia-Pacific art world into the 21st century.

The aim of the site, co-founded by Chris Taylor and Simon Fisher, is to help collectors do due diligence on possible purchases, enabling them to see exhibitions close up and providing them with details of each work’s provenance, history and creator.

“It’s like a virtual version of an art fair with the galleries all in one place. Except we’re on all the time – that’s where our model came from,” says Taylor.

Taylor says Ocula is selective, choosing galleries in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and North America whose works it displays.

The new business has a number of platforms. It has a consultancy service for collectors and an auction website, Ocula Black, which has sold works worth $3 million since 2011.

For the portal, galleries choose a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription which includes a range of marketing and advertising services.

With nearly 150 galleries on its books and $1.35 million invested of their own money, Fisher and Taylor are looking for just over $1 million of funding, an 18 per cent shareholding, to market Ocula to more international galleries.

“The potential funder or funders could be from the online, e-commerce, technology, publishing, marketing or media sectors or they might be a significant art collector or private art institution,” says Fisher.

He envisages hiring about a dozen more staff, adding to two in Hong Kong and three in New Zealand.

The company is forecasting revenue in 2015 of $2.365 million rising to $6.2 million in 2018.

Sales this year are running at $400,000.

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