Pitch us the concept... Vastari
is an online platform that connects private collectors with museum curators for exhibition loans. Collectors anonymously upload works to our secure online database, accessible only by accredited museum professionals personally verified by our team. Each object is hot linked to the owner’s name. Curators send a message to the collector with the click of a button, initiating correspondence that could lead to collaboration without the hassle of letter-forwarding and third party interests.
I came up with the idea when... I was working at a Mayfair gallery, and more and more collectors were approaching us about missed opportunities to lend works to museum exhibitions. No place exists where collectors can be in touch with museum curators quickly and efficiently to discuss future loans. Communication has always been reached via a third party. I couldn't believe there was not an online resource to make this whole process more efficient particularly as the loan process benefits both the curator and the collector.
The biggest challenge is... Changing the mindset of the art world when it comes to online interactions.
The average day is spent... Testing our website to make it more and more accessible for our users, pitching our project to collectors and curators digitally or in person, drinking lots of coffee and meeting many interesting DJs, as our offices are in a recording studio!
The team consists of... Four young women! It’s a very international team, speaking ten languages and combining a number of nationalities, and what brings us together is love for art and the desire to see more privately owned works shared with the public. We also work with many very interesting designers who come and help on specific projects. The male contingent of Vastari is our development team. They have shown interest in how to change the art world with technology, helping our ideas come to life efficiently. Backing the project we have collectors who love art, understand the value of a resource like Vastari, but have no interest in the art market.
Our USP is... that we are a truly non-partisan resource: that we specialise in loans of art to institutions rather than its monetary value or subsequent sale. We are the first (and hope to remain the only) resource that looks at art and antiques from this angle.
In five years we’d like to be... The go-to place for exhibition loans and a trusted global brand.
How we're funded... As mentioned previously, our backers are all private individuals who believed in Vastari when it was just an idea. We are lucky to be working with a friendly and trusting group of investors who don’t just have dollar signs in their eyes.
Our biggest mistake and what it taught us... I don’t know why this is such a difficult question to answer! We have obviously made many, many updates to the original site, and have had an occasional Freudian slip in conversations, but all in all, our team feels so lucky to have gotten this far. We just keep smiling and keep learning from every experience.
The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date... Watching people change their minds about Vastari in the last six months since our launch, who have joined our website despite their initial hesitation.