7 Questions for Leon Benrimon, Vice President of StartEngine, the Tech Platform That’s Shaking Up the Collecting Game


Supporters of the tv show Shark Tank may perhaps remember the visual appeal of StartEngine, a crowdfunding system that assists startups and traders join, a couple of decades back (it earned a stamp of approval from host Kevin O’Leary).  

StartEngine is aiming to draw in artwork lovers, as well. The Los Angeles-based platform, founded in 2015 by Ron Miller and Activision’s Howard Marks, gives shoppers the solution to make fractional investments in blue-chip artwork.

By providing crowdfunded fractional ownership in artworks, StartEngine offers each artwork enthusiasts and newbie buyers a way to obtain the added benefits of partial ownership in an artwork with out people limitations to entry,” explained Leon Benrimon, who labored with Heritage Auctions and as an impartial vendor prior to joining StartEngine as vice president.

Lately, we spoke with Benrimon about StartEngine and why the artwork planet should take notice. 

How would you clarify StartEngine in just a few or four sentences?
StartEngine is one particular of the major equity crowdfunding platforms in the U.S., where by every day folks can locate and spend in early-progress firms and startups, as very well as a wide variety of choice assets. StartEngine has assisted far more than 500 companies elevate $500 million from a local community of above 750,000 possible buyers. In 2021, StartEngine expanded its expert services to give collectibles like high-quality art, comic books, sports cards, and high-quality wine.  

What need to art fans know about StartEngine? How can it be a device for collectors?
StartEngine provides artwork enthusiasts and collectors a unique option to commit in substantial-recognition artworks with no possessing to deal with the obstacles that can normally make artwork expenditure problematic. Buyers can obtain shares in the entity that owns the artwork for as tiny as $10 (on some artworks). StartEngine enables artwork collectors the capability to make investments in art without getting to get worried about the because of diligence method, assessment of truthful current market worth, shipping and delivery, authenticity, and provenance on the acquisition facet, and coverage, storage, and annually appraisal on the lengthy term administration side.

Finally, StartEngine might offer collectors a way to market their investments in artworks by offering a secondary sector investing system for shares for investors who might want to provide their shares right before the artwork is offered, or for people who may want to hold out until finally the artwork is bought, the managing of the total sale procedure such as offering artworks at auction, with a vendor, or by way of private transaction, having treatment of potential viewing, delivery, and payment among the other logistics. Whilst the plan is to let these shares to trade on secondary, as we point out on the page, trading on secondary is issue to specific requirements, and even if the shares are traded, it is critical to fully grasp that there is no ensure a sector will produce, or if a single does acquire, that the shares will trade above the price tag you paid out for them. All in all, StartEngine is the long term of art investing without the trouble.  

Banksy, Laugh Now. Courtesy of StartEngine.

Banksy, Snicker Now. Courtesy of StartEngine.

You have a history in the arts. Can you convey to us about that and how you came to StartEngine?
I believe my go to StartEngine is kismet. As some could know, I was very fortunate to improve up surrounded by artwork and the art planet. My household has been involved in the art planet for as long as I can keep in mind. Immediately after obtaining shut my main marketplace art gallery in Chelsea, Benrimon Modern, I was confronted with a complicated selection: sign up for Heritage Auctions, which had made available me a fantastic posture, or go off to start a startup referred to as ArtShares, which would allow collectors to spend fractionally in artworks, working with what had been then crowdfunding legislation. The fractional possession design experienced been presented to me by a pal who was launching a very similar platform for music royalties and one more who was doing so with luxury yachts.

I selected Heritage Auctions, a organization the place I loved practically seven amazing many years. When a loved ones member put me in contact with Howard Marks, the founder of StartEngine, who discussed what the platform did and was wanting to develop into, it felt like fate experienced introduced me again to the identical situation I was in seven decades before. Possessing liked my time at Heritage immensely, it felt like the proper time to revisit the notion that I never acquired to examine. My meeting with Howard was an instantaneous simply click, being familiar with that StartEngine, which presently had great results in the planet of startups, was destined to modify the confront of modern-day investing by providing investors a range of expense options to complement the classic choices of stocks and bonds.  

What do you think are the artwork world’s primary obstacles to entry?

Unfortunately so lots of. As an artwork lover for my full everyday living, my greatest peeve is that so lots of come across it challenging to commence accumulating artwork. I imagine the finest barrier is the money suggests to acquire a blue-chip artwork, which is normally high priced and, as a consequence, overwhelming to the normal art lover. Even if a single could triumph over that hurdle, a important amount of studying is necessary between the major-sector and secondary-market players. Picture, if you are setting up to collect, you require to learn about the gamers in both of those marketplaces, recognize how to conduct because of diligence,  appraise good market place benefit, analysis transport, insurance plan, and storage answers, not to point out conservation and framing. All that just to purchase a perform, and then a identical established of problems when the time comes to promote the function. Although I really like artwork, it is apparent the art environment operates off of an inefficient product that makes entry into the industry demanding to the regular artwork lover.  

What are the advantages of fractional possession of an artwork? Is it purely financial commitment?
Though it may well feel that fractional possession is purely investment decision on the surface area, I would argue that it serves a a lot greater purpose. For yrs, particularly whilst at Heritage, I would encourage collectors to begin by purchasing reduced-worth prints and photographs as an entry into the market. Although I nevertheless like each individuals mediums, they do not examine to portray, sculpture, and drawing and on top of that, for most blue-chip artists they have risen to a value that is no for a longer period entry amount. Fractional ownership enables amateur collectors the chance to have ownership, and all that arrives with that, in blue-chip remarkably acknowledged performs. I believe that significantly fractional possession will be the new gateway into art gathering that prints and images (or a single could argue NFTs) have ordinarily served. I actually believe that fractional ownership is the amassing of the potential. 

What safeguards does StartEngine supply collectors in conditions of provenance and authenticity?
Excellent query. StartEngine conducts a complete authenticity, provenance, literature, and exhibition background due diligence using a network of trusted advisors and professionals. StartEngine guarantees the authenticity and provenance of just about every item on the system prior to presenting it to the community.  

Who are the best collectors you’re hoping to bring in?
Every person! When I 1st achieved with StartEngine founder Howard Marks, I explained that fractional ownership is not a new concept in the artwork earth. For as very long as I can try to remember sellers, advisors, and even some collectors, have purchased performs for the evident reasons. Usually, artwork has not been as liquid as other investments, so syndication was a requirement for dealers searching to increase their inventory, so my instant imagined was that sellers would really like this idea.  Nonetheless, it has come to be clear that fractional possession appeals to the full artwork environment, dealers, gallerists, advisors, collectors, and buyers alike.

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