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Meet our 2021 Cohort: ArtSquare

It is time to meet some of the amazing companies and teams who participated in the Algorand Europe Accelerator 2021 program. Meet ArtSquare

Introducing: ArtSquare

HQ: London, United Kingdom

Founder: Francesco Boni, Fabrizio D’Aloia

The market of Fine Art and Collectibles is one of the most exclusive sectors nowadays, with few incredibly wealthy individuals and institutions controlling the very high prices of these illiquid assets. A limited budget usually prevents the average investor or passionate art lover from accessing the industry; unclear regulations, non-transparent pricing, and confusing ownership rights also make it difficult for anyone who lacks knowledge and experience to benefit from it. Not to mention the risk of buying forgeries or overpaying an object. Trusting one’s own judgment in dealing with highly technical matters such as authenticity, provenance–the artwork’s history of ownership, sales, and loans–and price fluctuation is very risky. If you decide to put your trust in an auction house, you may end up paying up to 25% commission fees for its services. This is true for both sellers and buyers. Some iconic works by Andy Warhol were up for sale at one of Phillips’ latest contemporary art auctions in London. The artist’s Red Lenin sold for more than £81.000, doubling its initial estimate [1]. And this is not including a number of hidden fees that the final buyer had to pay and that auction houses rarely disclose to the public.

Imagine if you could get some friends to contribute and buy portions of the artwork; a large number of people would then virtually own an, otherwise, unaffordable object. Finally, imagine you and some of your crew of co-owners want to sell your shares of the artwork to cash in or invest money in another asset. Liquidity is continuously generated, with obvious benefits for both buyers and sellers. This is how things work in the ArtSquare platform. Works of Fine Art and Collectibles are listed on the platform and divided into Digital Art Shares (DAS), available for purchase by using fiat currencies to the whole community through the Primary Market. Art Owners and Art Investors are the main players that keep the platform going. On one side, Art Owners put forward for listing their art objects, which the platform will then break down into Digital Art Shares (through the process of digital listing) and make liquid. On the other, Art Investors decide to invest any amount in buying a number of Digital Art Shares of one or multiple artworks. This flexible and dynamic way of buying and selling Digital Art Shares makes also possible the creation of a Secondary Market, the ArtSquare Exchange. This will not only allow Art Investors to trade DAS anytime but will also create liquidity and alternative possibilities of investment that will benefit the whole community.

Fabrizio D’Aloia is a co-founder, also known as “the architect” is an Italian engineer and serial entrepreneur. With a background in software development in 1995, he founded People’s Network, one of the first ISPs in Italy. In 1999 he founded Microgame, a gaming and betting company. He acted as the President and CEO of the group up to 2013 when the group had more than 180 sub-brands and 2.5 million active users. After selling the company to two US PE funds, TPG Growth and Monitor Clipper Partners, he became the CEO of Mobilmat, one of the first Italian Electronic Money Institute authorized by the Bank of Italy. In 2015 he took a sabbatical period and participated in the Clipper World Tour. Passionate about contemporary and modern art, he is one of the most active collectors in southern Italy.

Francesco Boni is a co-founder and director. He is a business lawyer with several years of experience in Venture Capital. After finishing his studies between Italy and the US, he moved to the UK in 2013 where he joined iStarter, an Italian accelerator in London. For 2 years he was responsible for managing the operations of the UK branch and started “Made in Italy”, the Italian lead roadshow that connects the best Italian tech scale-ups with professional international investors in NYC, Beijing, and London. He was then Director of Operations for Toucan Ventures, a UK Seed Capital Firm that supports female creative entrepreneurs in the F&B, Retail and Lifestyle sectors. Francesco has been selected by Forbes Italia in the Best 100 under 30 list of 2018 as one of the top 5 Italians operating in the Venture Capital sector. In the Forbes article, he highlighted how important it is for VC firms and innovators to try to concentrate at least part of their efforts and finances on a social impact aspect in order to contribute to making the world a better place.

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