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Apr 29, 2015 12:57 PM ET

Owlstand: an online gallery for artists and galleries to showcase their works online

iCrowdNewswire - Apr 29, 2015



Owlstand is an online gallery for artists and galleries to showcase their works online. The platform aims to cover all functions of tradition brick and mortar gallery; including curating, showcasing, marketing and sales. Owlstand is striving to become the Amazon & Flickr for art.

The Idea

Owlstand is an online gallery for artists and galleries to showcase their works online. The platform aims to cover all functions of tradition brick and mortar gallery; including curating, showcasing, marketing and sales. Owlstand is striving to make art accessible to the world, whoever and wherever you are.

The Problem

Problems first came to light when Stephen studied fine art for university, he found that most existing resources were not showing enough detail for his studies. Years later, due to technological obstacles, we believe this still remains a problem for lots of students in the art subject.

Still an art lover, Stephen finds himself unable to enjoy all the exhibitions he is interested in, either because the exhibitions are not located nearby, sometimes even in another hemisphere, or because it’s too expensive for him to attend them all. Even worse, we believe the expense of physical exhibition space prices out many artists including some galleries and museums as well.

If the problems above hinder the exposure of artworks in terms of quality and duration, they should also negatively affect the trading of art. Despite lots of sites trying to provide solutions to this, we believe they are still not good enough.

This left Stephen thinking, why can’t we have an online exhibition platform that can overcome all the difficulties mentioned, with an immersive viewing experience and great selection of artworks for visitors and buyers. There must be a better way for artists, galleries and museums to promote and archive their real-life exhibitions, and a more true-to-life procedure for art trading? Hence, Owlstand was born.

The Solution

Owlstand have developed an online exihibition center for galleries and artists to promote and archive their real-life exhibitions. By re-thinking the digital space. Owlstand acts as a hub centralising functions (including curation, showcase, sales, marketing, communications and public education) exerted in contemporary art exhibitions and organisations into the virtual space of the internet. We currently run a freemium model, whereby users can upgrade their accounts for additional benefits such as first access exhibitions.

We are also currently developing a trading platform to mimic the real life procedure of art dealing. This will also allow significant revenue streams from the commission from each work sold.

Ultimately, Owlstand is striving to become the Amazon & Flickr for art.

Achievements to Date

Launched in August 2014, Owlstand has tested its beta version with 10,000 unique visitors globally. It sees an average session duration of 04:19 with a low bounce rate of 2.04%, which gives us confidence that visitors enjoy the experience. The amount of exhibitions curated on the site is constantly increasing with efforts from our in-house curators, external curatorial partners and individual artists.

Incorporated on 15 May 2014, Owlstand Ltd is a newly founded company qualified for Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme. This is the first round of its fundraising.

Use of Funds

We are looking to use the funds in the areas below:

  1. Localisation, Marketing & PR
  2. Hardware & Infrastructure upgrade
  3. Operational expenses

From this raise we have the following goals:

  • 5 million unique visitors by the end of 2015
  • 25,000 active accounts (registered users)
  • A backend system/ storage that can support the data above
  • Consolidate a team
  • Build an intuitive, user-friendly payment system that can support the online trading function

The Market

Market analysis

Owlstand is aiming to have a share in the global art market. Our Total Addressable Market (TAM) was €47.4 billion in 2013, and our Sales Addressable Market (SAM) was €2.5 billion of online sales with a growing rate of at least 25% per year. Recent growth trend also shows that online art trade could exceed €10 billion by 2020 (TEFAF art market report 2014). We are confident that our services will appeal to a large amount of the exhibitions are held in major galleries and museums around the world every year (for example, National Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts and British Museum) in addition to small-scaled, out-of-the-spotlight ones by individual artists and commercial galleries. We also hope to create extra markets by overcoming the language barrier in some major and emerging markets,

Target market

Our target markets can be divided into the categories below:

  • Content providers, including artists, galleries and organizations who are looking to share content with the world. (Free for most users, charge some users for upgraded account service)
  • Content visitors, including students, researchers and art lovers wished to view art online. (Free for most of the users, charged VIP accounts available)
  • Artwork sellers and buyers, including commercial galleries and art dealers. (Commission of sales)

Route to market

  • For users between 20-30 years old, we will market Owlstand via social media channels, and help young users promote, sell and buy art on our platform. A research paper suggests that a future generation of art buyers is likely to make their first art purchase online. (Hiscox art report 2014). And we will make full use of their digital presences.
  • For users between 40-60 years old, we will reach them via partnership scheme with galleries. For centuries, galleries operate within their regions, but Owlstand is a tool for them to reach out and connect with audience globally now. We will position ourselves as a helper in global market, connect west and east, and deliver this message via press releases and email blasts.


Nowadays, there are hundreds of competitors in the art market but to the best of our knowledge all fail to address the problems highlighted. “Not seeing the physical object remains the biggest hurdle… but this fear may be overcome by more detailed information”(Hiscox art report 2014), “Users want higher quality images, more visual information”, research report by Dr Melissa Terras (UCL Centre for Digital Humanities). We believe our system is a solution to this remaining hurdle in the art market. With a strong focus on online viewing experience, a backend solution for displaying high-resolution images across different devices and a meaningful brand, we are confident to gain a significant share of the market.

The People

Stephen (Shupeng) Yang – CEO, Founder

Stephen Yang is an experienced digital producer providing digital services and advices to renowned artists including Tracey Emin and Jenny Holzer. After setting up his first company Mustache Owl & Co. Limited in 2013, Shupeng worked with various companies in UK, US and China, providing high quality digital services including video production, website development and App development. Shupeng holds a master degree in Interactive Media from University of the Arts London.

Alexander Paukste – CTO, Co-founder

Alexander Paukste is a software engineer with 9 years of experience, he works with various technology companies, including Skimlinks, Digital Science, Seditionart and Diginet LT. He is an active participant in various Hackathons.

Melody Grossman Lead Contemporary Curator

Melody Grossman is a contemporary art curator with experience working for both digital and art companies. She was a content curator of a digital app “Hype!”, also had experience working for Serpentine Galleries, the British Museum and Arts Catalyst. She is an artist herself, graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Winchester School of Art with honours.

Claudia Benigni – Lead Classic Curator

Claudia Benigni is a classic art curator. She was a funded PHD in history, University of Eastern Piedmont, a Recognised student of University of Oxford, State Archive of Bologna, she also holds a Master and a Bachelor’s degree in History from University of Bologna.

Nelson Lin – Lead Developer

Nelson Lin has 8 years experience in programming with specific experience on image processing. He was a frontend developer at PChome Publication and Windows Programmer at ELAN Microelectronics, also a Contestant Candidates Camp Counselor of International Olympiad of Informatics. He holds a Master of Engineering degree of Computer Science from National Taiwan Normal University, a Bachelor of Science degree of Electrical and Electronics Engineering from National Sun Yat-Sen University.

The Exit Strategy

We are aiming to create two kinds of exit. 1. Potential IPO in the future 2. Merged with other companies or get acquired by a successful player in this realm.

The time span for creating a successful public company is around 5-10 years. But through M&A the time span can be shortened to 1-3 years.

A similar case is Vipartfair.com. It was founded in 2010, and acquired by Artspace in April 2013.

However, with a young team, average age 28, we do hope to grow the business as long as possible and provide shareholders with the maximum return of their investment.


Rewards with monetary value over £1000 can affect the amount of EIS you may be able to claim. Please obtain independent tax advice if there is any concern as Crowdcube does not provide legal or tax advice.

  • Invest £120 and get

    We will provide a VIP account(worth £120) to our investors who invest more than £200. The VIP account service will give funder access to private exhibitions curated from world’s leading galleries.

Share Types

This company is offering only A-shares with full voting rights to all investors.

Tax Relief

Owlstand has submitted their plans to raise money, details of their structure and trade etc. to HMRC and has been given advance assurance that the proposed share issue is likely to qualify for Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) tax reliefs relating to their shares.

Tax relief is available to individuals only, who subscribe for shares in a Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). Relief is at 50 per cent of the cost of the shares, to be set against the individual’s Income Tax liability for the tax year in which the investment was made.

If you sell, give away, exchange or otherwise dispose of shares, tax reliefs can reduce your Capital Gains Tax bill. Your shares must meet certain conditions to qualify for these reliefs.

Please visit the HMRC website for further information on SEIS tax relief

The availability of any tax relief, including EIS and SEIS, depends on the individual circumstances of each investors, and may be subject to change in the future. If you are in any doubt about the availability of any tax reliefs, or the tax treatment of your investment, you should obtain independent tax advice before proceeding with your investment.

Risk Warning

Investing in start-ups and early stage businesses involves risks, including illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. Crowdcube is targeted exclusively at investors who are sufficiently sophisticated to understand these risks and make their own investment decisions. You will only be able to invest via Crowdcube once you are registered as sufficiently sophisticated.

Please click here to read the full Risk Warning.

This page is communicated by Crowdcube Capital Limited and has been approved as a financial promotion by Crowdcube Ventures Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Pitches for investment are not offers to the public and investments can only be made by members of crowdcube.com on the basis of information provided in the pitches by the companies concerned. Crowdcube takes no responsibility for this information or for any recommendations or opinions made by the companies.

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