Tell us about you and Articheck
I am the founder and CEO of Articheck, a distruptive startup targeting the art world.
Articheck takes the manual, labour intensive process of creating condition reports, detailing the condition of artwork at a given place and time for insurance and collection management purposes, and greatly streamlines it. Artwork moves around a lot, between exhibitions, art fairs and sales. Articheck provides a digital ‘passport for art’ that is stored centrally and can be accessed and stamped by each party while the work is in transit or being exhibited, rather than everyone making a new paper report all the time.
Who is it for?
Museums, galleries, conservators, Art Studios, Shippers, framers, Auction Houses, anyone dealing with these reports.
It sounds like condition reporting needed to move to the 21rst century!
Yes, our tech stack is not ground breaking, but the combination and specification to the industries needs are.
Our biggest competitor is a piece of paper so Articheck is very disruptive!
Here are some screen shots of our app showing some of the features available.
How did you come up with this idea?
I used to make thousands of these reports for Tate, and then later in the commercial world. I also used to be a collections cataloguer and work with the systems that Articheck will need to integrate with, so I had an ideal background for this (minus the MBA and tech knowledge of course!)
So you realised there was another, more productive and valuable way to do your job. How did you manage to turn your idea into a business?
First I could only afford interns and freelancers. It was difficult to trust random freelancers so I used people I knew. I got people to fill gaps of knowledge and skill set as soon as possible, and then more people with art world expertise. I had to choose between getting ‘sales’ people and getting ‘art world people’ who have done some sales but not SAAS. I choose the artworld people as I think that knowledge is more difficult to cultivate on the job.
It is always difficult to make people change the way they do things, but you made their life easier. What slowed down the take up of your app?
Not having iPads was an issue when we started a couple years ago, but less and less so and now not really mentioned.
What has the industry feedback been to Articheck?
It’s been really positive. Last month, I gave the opening presentation for ARCS conference in New Orleans for 700 US Museum Registrars, who went gaga for Articheck. And we were also shortlisted for the Apollo Awards 2015: Digital Innovation of the Year Shortlist
Have there been any other tech solutions to condition reporting?
Yes, there was an emerging competitor called Octavo, based in California. We merged with the project in October.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Go for it but know what you are getting into! Long hours and constant push to the next goal, but also amazing growth and learning. Always listen to good advice from people with experience, but judge for yourself how far to take it.
What other issues could become a business idea?
A modular framework to help collections digitise their collections and share them with the public, including interesting ways of ‘telling the story’ of objects and sub-collections. They could use Articheck to take images and add some data, then export that to a ready-made website where they just make a few choices on how it is presented and the rest is quite automated. A bit like a combination of web-based software that allows easy importing wizards that identify your CSV columns and match to their template (like Mail Chimp), and website builders, but tailored for collections.
Apart from making a process much easier what good Articheck does to the arts world?
One of our plans is to use data analysis to help collections maintain their artwork, so our contribution is preserving collections for the future!
Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Art Challenge in January!