Mumbai-based online art marketplace CrudeArea has raised an undisclosed amount of investment from the WebChutney founders Sidharth Rao and Sudesh Samaria and two undisclosed US-based investors. The company plans to use the investment raised to roll out more categories, marketing and hiring.
Launched in November 2012, CrudeArea offers graphic wall arts across various themes like automobiles, food, movies, travel, and landscape among others. These are mostly urbane, funky and quirky art work which will appeal to the hipster crowd. One can browse through various wall art prints on the site or filter these prints based on the space (bar, lounge, bedroom and living room among others), mood (happy, sober, dark, geeky, funny and others) and color (blue, teal, mint, beige and others).
What’s worth nothing though is that unlike many designer apparel sites, CrudeArea isn’t crowdsourcing artwork. That is, it isn’t allowing any artist to create their own marketplace on the site and retail their work, and there isn’t any online upload or submission process.
Instead, CrudeArea appears to be curating its artists from India and abroad, and the company notes in its FAQs that artists can tie-up with the company to feature their artwork on the site on a 50-50 revenue sharing basis. Also, artists will continue to retain rights for the artwork created, even after the purchase.
Future Plans: Going forward, the company plans to expand to other categories like home decor and lifestyle products in the next two-three months, although the focus seems to be on art and design related merchandise. CrudeArea co-founder Nidhi Dewan mentions in the press release that they are also considering 3D printing-based products. A mobile app also seems to be in the works, although the company hasn’t disclosed any specific information on this.
Last December, CrudeArea co-founder Shweta Bhandari had told Medianama that they also plan to extend prints to other product categories like T-Shirts, Tote bags and devices skins and cases among others in the near future.
Other Players: In March 2013, Modern art auction house SaffronArt had launched an online collectibles store called StoryLTD which offered products across various categories like art, furniture, interiors and jewelry among others. Besides this, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nexus Venture Partners backed Craftsvilla also offers handmade, designer and gift items.