Digital art is an incredibly difficult industry to break into. It not only requires extremely refined talent, but also an extensive network. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter helped artists get noticed in the early days. However, as traditional platforms have become more saturated, non-professional artists have experienced difficulties in showcasing their artwork .
Mahmood Mapara’s (founder of Revolut Art) sister faced this same issue. After posting art on Instagram and waiting weeks for any traction, she received minimal feedback (mostly from non-artists) and didn’t know how to take her passion for art further. And this inspired Mahmood to create a platform which does not discriminate against artists based on their skill levels, and allows them to gain valuable feedback from other artists.
Check out the platform: https://www.revolutart.com/#home
Revolut Art is currently not monetizing (currently focusing on growth), but seems to be trending towards a B2C model.
The Revolut Art app is similar to Instagram in terms of providing a social feed and explore section. The platform also allows users to follow artists and have the artists’ work populate the user’s feed.
There are however some key distinctions between popular social media and Revolut.
Revolut has a trending section where it promotes artists based on how much traction they are getting. Also the app has channels for discovering artists (based on user defined criteria), giving feedback, and seeing recent posts to the app. Aside from exposure, the app also secures artists’ work from theft using a digital, encrypted watermark.
The app’s focus on art makes it very visually engaging and it is imaginable that users could stay on the platform for hours at a time (one of our team members actually did).
Traction and Fundraising
- Was accepted to Georgia Tech’s Create-X Launch Accelerator in summer 2020
- < $1000 of capital spent on building app (as of July 24th, 2020)
- Customer acquisition cost = $0.00 !!
- ~ 1K artists on the platform within a month of launch (launched on June 13th, 2020 and traction was recorded on July 24th, 2020)
- Artists vary in experience and stature (range from 20 followers – 100k followers on Instagram)
- 40% of artists on platform came from word of mouth
- Currently 100+ posts are made each day to the platform
- Not actively fundraising
Mahmood Mapara: BS in Computer Science @ Georgia Tech
First and foremost, this startup has the rare trademark of founder-problem fit. Mahmood has seen the problem up close due to his sister, and has interviewed 1000+ artists to build Revolut Art around their needs. We personally find this very important.
Revolut’s biggest point for defensibility is that it has built a unique community that is very engaged on the platform. A 40% referral rate probably is a good indicator Revolut has captured network effects early on. Sustaining and increasing this growth will be pivotal to the company’s success.
In terms of competitors, main competitors are existing social media platforms that are diluted for smaller artists. We only see one big player that focuses on the digital art market – Deviant Art. However, Deviant Art actively downgrades art not made for professionals. And this plays to Revolut’s mission of creating exposure for up and coming artists. Seeing that digital art is a $16 billion market (based on money made from digital art exhibition) with only one big participant, this is a market ripe for the taking.
Digital art is very much still in its infancy as an art form. Due to the low cost of producing digital art and the limitless expressiveness of the medium, the future of art is digital art. Revolut Art could be the main stage for an inevitable digital art renaissance.
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