Art aficionado Abhishek Poddar, who is also director of Bangalore-based Sua Explosives & Accessories, has invested $200,000 (Rs 1.24 crore) in international online arts auction startupFine Art Bourse (F.A.B.).
A brainchild of Australian entrepreneur Tim Goodman, F.A.B. aims to challenge the current business models of global auction giants like Sotheby's and Christie's.
Goodman, who has spent years in the Australian auction business, has already raised $2 million for the venture, which focuses on arts and diamond as assets. While its site is live, as per Goodman's LinkedIn page, F.A.B. would launch operations this month.
The Economic Times, which first reported the development, added that a few other Indian investors have also put in money in the venture. An email sent to Poddar was not answered till the time of writing this report.
The London-based auction firm, which is expected to offer pared-down fee of 5 per cent to buyers and sellers, will run its auctions from Hong Kong.
As per the news report, Poddar was an early investor in F.A.B. and he currently owns 5 per cent stake in the online auction platform. In addition to his role at Sua Explosives & Accessories, Poddar has diverse interests ranging from trading and export, to tea, RFID and retail. Along with his wife, he also owns a contemporary design and lifestyle store called Cinnamon in Bangalore.
Purchases of contemporary works have been surging in the last few years as new buyers have entered the market.
Christie's and Sotheby's reported record sales for 2014.
Sales of art and collectibles at Christie's rose to $7.7 billion, a 12 per cent increase from 2013, the world's largest art broker had said recently. Sotheby's auction sales rose 18 per cent to $6 billion. As per a recent report by Netherlands-based Fine Art Foundation, online transactions contributed 6 per cent of art worth $59 billion sold by auction houses and dealers in 2014.