Habitus Associates Co., LTD., the entity behind the online art platform ‘Artue’ and under the leadership of Bo Young SONG, has secured a seed investment of 4 billion won. This investment round was led by SoftBank Ventures Asia with several angel investors also taking part.
Artue, powered by Habitus Associates Co., LTD, is pioneering the art industry’s digital transformation. The platform is revolutionizing the traditionally offline, high-barrier art brokerage, providing emerging artists with market entry opportunities and reducing purchasing barriers for collectors.
A notable feature of Artue is its digital twin technology, enabling a virtual experience that mirrors physical art spaces. With the integration of online transactional capabilities, Artue is also enhancing its digital Catalogue Raisonné service and introducing resale functionalities.
The team at Habitus Associates Co., LTD. comprises industry veterans from influential corporations like Naver, Kakao, Credit-Suisse, LG, Hyundai Motor Group, Kukje Gallery, and Korea Arts Management Service. The advisory board includes Eugene Whang, with two decades at Apple; Alan Lau, previously of Tencent and now with Animoca Brands; Changwook Kim of Naver; and Federico Tan, a communications specialist with clients including Sacai and Takashi Murakami.
With the new funds, the company intends to further develop and hone Artue’s offerings, boost its technical capabilities, and expand its reach. Strategic talent acquisition and international artist promotion are also on the agenda, along with securing additional intellectual properties to diversify Artue’s portfolio.
In 2022, the global art market was valued at an impressive 80 trillion won, with projections indicating continued growth driven by an increase in affluent individuals and the expanding digital landscape. Remarkably, South Korea’s art market achieved over 1 trillion won in sales during the challenging pandemic year. Estimates for 2022 show potential growth to 1.377 trillion won. With Seoul witnessing a surge in global galleries and auction houses, South Korea is positioning itself as a significant player in the art market alongside giants like the US, UK, China, and Japan.
Bo Young SONG, co-founder of Habitus Associates Co., LTD., has served as a member of the Selection Committee member of Art Basel Hong Kong for a decade and as the first Asian partner and the regional CEO of renowned European art publisher Cahiers d’Art. She stated, “Artue is our response to the digital era. Beyond traditional art experiences, our platform aims to expedite and enhance the journey of gallerists, artists, and collectors.”
JP Lee, CEO of SoftBank Ventures Asia, added, “Habitus Associates Co., LTD. seamlessly integrates art with IT, revolutionizing the traditional art market. We will actively support the continued growth of Artue and, furthermore, the digital transition of the art market.”