Using events to fast track international growth

Expert Opinion
Using events to fast track international growth

By Jonas Almgren, CEO of London-based tech start-up Artfinder

As a London-based tech startup with ambitious US expansion plans in the next few months, we have come to recognise that partnerships with established brands are crucial to accelerating our growth and success.

Artfinder is an online marketplace, connecting art lovers directly with a fast growing community of 8,000 artists in 100+ countries. This community of artists is one of our most important assets. Creating real connections, which enable our artists to interact with each other and directly with their customers is what sets us apart from our competition, who are still acting as gatekeepers between customers and artists.

However, our relationship with offline initiatives and corporate events has been tricky in the past: it’s no secret that events are costly and often hard to measure, and as a lean start-up everything we do is geared towards high growth and maximum impact.

That’s why building partnerships with international brands who share our values of empowering artists, with the capacity and resource to help facilitate artist-facing events, has been really important to us.

Our latest venture involves a partnership with art material brand, Liquitex.

As the inventors of acrylic paint, they have been championing artists since 1955 and thus have evolved into a strong brand with a great history. A global presence also ensures that this partnership does not exclude our artists in more remote areas of the world.

Like the saying goes, ‘Try before you buy’ and that is what we did. As confident as we were that this was a perfect partnership, we were also wary that we might be blinded by the hype so we had a soft partnership launch in early September whereby we summoned our artists to a competition involving Liquitex’s new Special Release Muted Collection, the company’s first ever special release launch in its 60-year history.

The results were overwhelming, our community took their paintbrushes, stretched their canvases and painted away, and after receiving over 500 submissions we realised this was a match made in heaven.

In December 2016 we took this partnership to the next level, organising an artist event at Vandal in NYC, whereby artists would be able to network with each other, meet both companies and experiment with new materials. The event was a huge success with a full house.

What we found was that the value of events for relationship building cannot be underestimated – especially for artists who in many cases work alone, or in isolated locations, and we’re excited to continue to roll out artist events across the US.

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