Confidential : Expertissim raises 5 million euros

The French marketplace for appraised works of art has completed a second round of financing from CIC Capital Privé. The e-merchant intends to increase its offer and attract foreign buyers.

According to our information, Expertissim has just completed a €5 million financing round with CIC Capital Privé. Founded in 2007 by Gauthier de Vanssay and Igor Montoussé, Expertissim launched in early 2008 a marketplace for art objects, jewellery and antique furniture, appraised and guaranteed.

Internet users who wish to sell an object on the site first send photos via an online form. The object is then pre-expertised by one of Expertissim’s 50 partner experts. This allows the site to assure owners that their items will be sold at the real market price… and buyers that the items are authentic. This procedure also allows it to position itself on higher value items than eBay, from 100 to 20,000 euros with an average basket of 800 euros, while remaining in a niche that auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s disdain.

“Expertissim’s strategy focuses on this intermediate market, which is poorly addressed by traditional players and whose future is on the Internet,” explains its CEO Gauthier de Vanssay, confirming our information. “We are in the process of moving it online and giving it a new life.”

With its model of fixed-price sales rather than auctions, Expertissim targets a public interested in the art market but unfamiliar with auctioneers. The objects are put up for sale at the high value of the expert’s estimate and their price drops every week to the low value. The buyer pays for his order and a 20% commission for Expertissim and takes care of the delivery: by choosing the carrier offered by the site, by sending the one of his choice or by picking up the item himself. The seller does not pay any fees.

Expertissim had already raised €1 million from NextStage in September 2009 and is already targeting international markets, with sites in English and Chinese. With this injection of capital, structured by Marc Oiknine of Alpha Capital Partners, “we will first of all be looking for buyers abroad”, stresses Gauthier de Vanssay. Outside of France, the e-tailer is focusing on North America, Asia (especially Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore) and Northern Europe (UK, Benelux and the rest of Western Europe).

Expertissim will also strengthen its offering. “We will be setting up workflows that will allow us to host more items on our site,” adds its CEO. In particular, the e-tailer plans to open warehouses that will allow it to store more of the items it is entrusted with and to control the logistics of its service.

The sector of online sales of art objects began to quiver at the end of 2012, when the American 1st Dibs raised 42 million dollars fromIndex Ventures, Spark Capital and Benchmark to accelerate its international expansion. The ad site had already raised $60 million the previous year. Since then, in April 2013, Germany’s Auctionata, founded in 2012 on an auction model and based in Berlin and New York, raised $20.2 million from Earlybird, Bright Capital, Kite Ventures and its existing shareholders Holtzbrinck Ventures, eVenture Capital Partners and Raffay Group. Once again, these funds are intended to finance its conquest of the globe.

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