REPOST: Startup unleashes big data on art investing

Yes, even in the seemingly millennia-old realm of arts, artificial intelligence (AI) can have a big influence on. Read up St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s article on how Big Data on arts can affect people’s investing decisions when it comes to alternative investments:

Three pieces from a set of 18 Chinese export paintings (center) at Ely House in London on Oct. 12, 2015. Bloomberg photo by Luke MacGregor.

Hedge funds and some of the world’s biggest banks have embraced the predictive properties of machine learning to spot patterns and guide their investment decisions. Could this branch of artificial intelligence be used to divine the vagaries of the art market?

A New York startup says it can. Arthena analyzes hundreds of thousands of data points on works of art — artist, style, medium, size and so forth. Adding a touch of human insight, the company picks pieces it says will generate handsome returns for investors. Arthena currently manages several funds, ranging from low-risk ones that invest in modern art to higher-risk funds that buy works from emerging artists.

The startup, which is backed by Foundation Capital, Beamonte Investments and Y Combinator, recently teamed up with brokerage Charles Schwab, which offers a suite of alternative investment offerings.

Valuing art is inherently subjective, and many experts are skeptical that it can be profitably bought and sold simply by the numbers. But Arthena co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Madelaine d’Angelo says AI could shed light on a market where deals are often done privately, lower the barriers to entry and help democratize art investing.

“Most people in the art world don’t like what we’re doing,” d’Angelo says, noting that she’s been accused of stealing the soul from art investing. “We’re not advocating that art shouldn’t exist for art’s sake, or that people should stop building collections, but we want to make it more widely available as an asset class and investment opportunity.”

Read more HERE.