The Clarion List continues our series of interviews with leading art service providers. Whether you are learning about these companies for the first time or are already familiar with their services, we hope this series helps shed insight into each’s distinct niche and make the art services market in general more transparent.
This month we discussed art tech with Sofie Scheerlinck, Head of Business Strategy at ArtBinder. ArtBinder has been busy enhancing the art world with innovative technology for art professionals around the world through their collection & gallery management software and other related tech products.
The Clarion List: What is ArtBinder and why is it unique?
Sofie Scheerlinck: ArtBinder makes the business of art effortless. We build technology solutions for the art world that are fast, secure, and most of all, human. We are unique in that we don’t aim to disrupt the industry with faceless technology or gimmicky innovation. Rather, we focus on on building useful tools that solve real problems and maintaining relationships with our customers. We are committed to delivering products that help the industry grow - which in turn helps us grow.
CL: Who and where are your clients?
SS: We have a diverse client roster of galleries, collectors, advisors, and artists in over 65 countries. The ability to cater to both small and large clients has always been central to our mission, and is reflected in our products and pricing which scale as our customers do. We are proud that ArtBinder is used by small up-and-coming art businesses as well as the most widely recognized galleries and collections in the world.
CL: What features does your software offer?
SS: ArtBinder Mobile, our mobile sales and presentation tool, launched 5 years ago and has revolutionized the way the art world does business by unlocking technology’s potential to accompany on-the-go art professionals. While it was at first difficult to imagine iPads supplanting paper, now the industry would be unthinkable without them.
Over the years, our products have evolved to focus less on ‘features’ and more on holistic problem solving. We understand that having an organized and accessible inventory is critical for any art professional. Born from within the industry, we realize that beauty and ease of use are imperative for any platform to truly succeed here - this is a visual industry, not math class. Further, we know that in a relationship-driven industry such as this, our clients cultivate and maintain relationships as obsessively as we do, and need better tools to keep track of them. So while all this translates into ‘features’ like email integration, image processing, auto-syncing, point of sale transactions, white-glove service and support, bank-level security, contact management, etc, we always describe our products as making the life of an art professional easier. More art, less admin!!
CL: Tell us about your upcoming product ArtBinder Index - where did the concept come from and how does it work?
SS: ArtBinder Index is the natural progression of ArtBinder’s focus on making our customers’ lives easier with technology. Inventory management is a much-lamented industry pain-point, a necessary evil seemingly invented to torture registrars and collection managers. We envision Index as an alternative to this reality - a single platform that integrates all the tools that matter into one smart system with easy access to the information you store and useful insights for your business or collection.
Understanding your own sales and purchasing trends, being notified of relevant news and auctions based on your inventory, and reminders of connections you should follow up with or works you should have re-appraised are just a few items on our product roadmap for the next year. Our product development process revolves around constantly updating the system, and releasing updates while it’s in use rather than requiring customers to purchase new versions. We are truly excited for this product to take off - and based on our growing waitlist it’s fair to say the industry is excited too!
CL: What innovations or trends do you see in the future in the art + tech space?
SS: Being involved in the tech industry, I know that virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are two of the major tech trends investors are most excited about right now. It’s funny to think about how those innovations may impact the tangible art world. Gamification feels like a reality no industry can escape - I know our neighbors in Chelsea are worried about all the Pokémon Go action around their art work right now! For now, we are remaining focused on what the industry needs today - less friction, less administrative overhead, and more time for art!
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