The world is becoming increasingly digital, which is transforming how we interact, study and shop. Fintech has altered many lives, particularly for those in underbanked regions of the world, and healthtech came to the fore during the recent pandemic, allowing people to access healthcare professionals and safely receive medication.
Now the art world is following using NFTs and other art tech solutions. Technology is used to share, promote and trade art, and the art tech startups Southeast Asia is birthing are starting to disrupt the region’s cultural landscape.
What is arttech?
This new sector combines technology with art in various forms for communication between art dealers and trading digitally created art in multiple formats or enhancing works using augmented reality (AR).
Social impact through technology: we explore NFTs in Southeast Asia
Previously, the art industry primarily communicated through word of mouth or traditional mediums such as the press, television and websites. Recently, social media has become increasingly important in promoting art. New iterations are now emerging, such as Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) using blockchain technology and virtual exhibitions on metaverse platforms.
arttech allows dealers, museums and creators to connect more freely and securely to display, sell or discuss art. The emergence of NFTs as a method for certifying and administering contracts in real estate and other sectors makes them credible for dealing in art, both physically and in the virtual world.
Although the art world is still catching up in terms of digitalisation, there have been some significant strides in the sector. Before the pandemic, Sotheby’s integrated technology into their auctions. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, they jumped wholeheartedly onto the online sales bandwagon bringing in USD $800 million in eCommerce sales in 2021.
With Thailand having the most NFTs in 2021 and Vietnam and Indonesia also making the top ten list globally, Southeast Asia is rapidly adopting the NFT and art technology movement. As the sector grows, these are five of the leading art tech startups in Southeast Asia:
Streamlining the production of printed art is the primary driver of Printerous’ business plan. The Jakarta-based startup saves businesses time, money and resources when they are looking for high-quality printed goods, such as branded food containers, product packaging, and other printable goods.
Additionally, it serves as a hub for artists and graphic designers to network with potential clients, create quotations for their work, and automate invoicing and delivery. Following up on its previous pre-seed amount of USD $1.4 million in 2017, Printerous took part in the Grab Ventures Velocity accelerator programme and received two undisclosed sums of Series A and Venture Round funding in 2020.
Most art galleries are purely bricks and mortar affairs, relying on footfall. By launching its consultancy and online gallery platform, Singapore-based art tech startup The Artling has ripped up the rulebook. The company offers a wide range of artistic services, including bespoke paintings, NFTs and photography, while providing a global market for artists worldwide.
The startup has continued to have an impact on the art world through its products and services thanks to funding from Edipresse Media of USD $1.8 million in Series A funding in 2017.
Billing itself as “Your gateway into the NFT world”, this Singapore-based startup works to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3 through the minting of NFTs. It provides its clients with the tools and knowledge to create NFTs for their consumers through its online academy.
Since its foundation in October 2020, ArtWallSt or AWSt has raised USD $100 thousand in a pre-seed round from venture capitalist firm Antler. It continues to develop templates and connects with Polygon eWallet for token transfers.
The world of animation has changed from the early days of hand-drawn cartoons. Companies such as Sparky Animation have taken it to a whole new level by constantly pivoting and adding new technological innovations into their processes.
Using the latest in CGI technology, Sparky Animation is responsible for creating some of the world’s most successful children’s animations, such as Doc McStuffins and Dinosaur Train.
With a play on the words Artist IQ, this startup lives up to its intelligence quotient by creating a platform for art connoisseurs and creators to interact and make secure transactions using blockchain. RtistiQ authenticates works of art using technology acting as a dealer between buyers and sellers.
With over 3,000 pieces available, it has something for everyone’s taste and offers global shipping for all purchases. In April 2021, it received an undisclosed sum in the form of pre-seed funding to help the company grow.
As with other sectors, the digitalisation of the art world is underway. The art tech startups Southeast Asia is producing continue to push the boundaries using NFTs, innovative business technology and digital art. As the art tech sector advances, those who do not incorporate technology in their business models will be left behind.