Internet of Me
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Internet of Me

Shaking up the art market

A new, personalised investment platform

The rarefied world of the art trade is not an obvious place to find personal data innovation, but then Feral Horses is a startup with a mission to disrupt on all fronts.

In what it describes as an ‘art market revolution’, the firm has built a platform that lets people makes people buy shares in artworks rather than having to buy the whole piece — something usually beyond the reach of all but wealthy customers.

CEO Francesco Bellanca explains the concept: “We looked at the art market and saw there were four main challenges that had to be overcome — liquidity, transparency, high entry level, and involvement of the artist.

“So we decided to make the market more efficient by building a platform that will make it possible for our artists to sell to a bunch of people. Rather than selling the whole artwork we decided to create a stock exchange for art. We make it possible for artists to sell shares of artworks. When the IPO — let’s call it that — is completed the shares of the artworks are something people can freely trade.

“In the meantime, Feral Horses manages the physical artwork — we offer it for rental to private foundations or businesses or private properties and that creates a dividend that gets proportionately divided up among the shareholders.”

Feral Horses is building on HAT technology to enable the next phase of its development which will make it possible to match customers with suitable artists by analysing different data sets.

Francesco said: “It’s about understanding people’s tastes, which is very complex. We want to use the HAT To create a ground base for gathering more data by allowing people to have their own HAT and to control their data. Then we also hope to have enough data about the art market to better understand the pricing and — having created enough traction and liquidity in the market to have enough data about the users of the platform — to do match-making and analysis on the tastes of the people.

“HAT will help us with a multi-dimensional database to understand better people taste.”

The ultimate plan is to move beyond data relating only to art transactions and incorporate other data sets for a deeper understanding of Feral Horses customers.

Francesco said: “Having data about things like other financial transactions or behaviour on social platforms is all going to be useful to us.”

For Feral Horses, HAT technology solves several problems — accessing customer data without without exploiting customers, avoiding the headache of holding huge amounts of other people’s data, and staying on the right side of regulation.

“It would affect me as a user to know that the business I’m buying art with — or any business I interact with — is treating my data differently and well. Holding a lot of user data is also a liability, especially with the GDPR.

“HAT will give us a huge USP. It’s going to be a Way to diff ourselves from competition because it’s such a huge shift from the way things are done at the moment.”

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Simon Carroll

Simon Carroll

Editor of Internet of Me, a forum exploring the issues surrounding personal data. Journalist and writer for businesses and brands.