Courtesy: Curreo

Cureeo hopes to make fine art collecting more accessible to potential buyers.

It's not so common to find female founders at start-up accelerators. The numbers are increasing, and there are some accelerators dedicated entirely to supporting women entrepreneurs, but still, it's a relatively rare sight. But when we walked into Excelerate Labs, we found a new company called Cureeo bucking the start-up stereotype.

CEO Maida Swenson-Fortune was seated with her partners Stephanie ('Pepper') Coate and Katie Dombrowski, working on a new marketplace for art-buyers. Cureeo aims to eliminate some of the drudgery of sales from the artist's workload, and some of the tedium of hunting from the collector's life. They hope to make fine art collecting more accessible to potential buyers who might lack the experience or confidence (or funds) they think they need in order to walk into a gallery.

Start-Up Nation 2012 bug
Ideas and Entrepreneurs on the Leading Edge
See full coverage

The site has a small group of curators who select new artists and work for the marketplace. Those curators also offer a version of personal shopping, helping individual buyers target their search based on general preferences and specific criteria. Users can upload images of art they like to Cureeo's consultation page, giving the experts a sense of their taste without requiring art world language to describe what they want.

For artists, Cureeo wants to be a venue for them to display their work and gain visibility, rather than an exclusive representative of their collection. Cureeo handles presenting their art on the web; marketing through targeted advertising, SEO, and social media; and collecting payment from buyers. Like with Etsy, the artists are responsible for shipping their own work directly to the customer. 

"A lot of artists want something like Etsy but that is geared towards their work. I love Etsy, but it is very handicraft oriented and the average purchase is about 20 dollars," Swenson-Fortune says. "It's a very different purchase and a very process to buy something for 2,000 dollars."

Perhaps the strangest new feature of fine art buying in a digital domain is the return policy. If a Cureeo collector is not satisfied, they have seven days to return the work for a full refund--the last concession of an e-commerce business to the undeniable physicality of art.

Top image: From left to right: Katie Dombrowski, Maida Swenson-Fortune, and Pepper Coate.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maps

    Your Maps of Life Under Lockdown

    Stressful commutes, unexpected routines, and emergent wildlife appear in your homemade maps of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

  2. photo: The Pan-Am Worldport at JFK International Airport, built in 1960,
    Design

    Why Airports Die

    Expensive to build, hard to adapt to other uses, and now facing massive pandemic-related challenges, airport terminals often live short, difficult lives.

  3. Maps

    Visualizing the Hidden ‘Logic’ of Cities

    Some cities’ roads follow regimented grids. Others twist and turn. See it all on one chart.

  4. photo: Social-distancing stickers help elevator passengers at an IKEA store in Berlin.
    Transportation

    Elevators Changed Cities. Will Coronavirus Change Elevators?

    Fear of crowds in small spaces in the pandemic is spurring new norms and technological changes for the people-moving machines that make skyscrapers possible.

  5. photo: an open-plan office
    Life

    Even the Pandemic Can’t Kill the Open-Plan Office

    Even before coronavirus, many workers hated the open-plan office. Now that shared work spaces are a public health risk, employers are rethinking office design.

×