Above: Founders Victoria Dejaco and Glenn Vanbavinckhove. Photo by Sophie Kirchner.
Simplify.art is the first free and unlimited cloud-based art management system, allowing collectors, artists, galleries and institutions to manage their art and collaborate across web and mobile applications. Born out of the belief that software should be accessible and easy to use for everyone, simplify.art strives to offer a complete solution for most processes in the art community to solve the challenges digitalization carries.
Simplify.art provides an intuitive database for archiving art. It is the first interoperable system on the market, giving artists, galleries and collectors the chance to cooperate smoothly and share content within a system which facilitates communication and sales.
With its free mobile app and subscription based web app simplify.art caters to art lovers, artists and all art world professionals alike. By integrating existing services like Mailchimp or Instagram and linking the processes of archiving, promotion, transports, offers, invoicing and art and customer care it allows easy and efficient administration on a daily basis. The idea of implementing text and image recognition in an art archive guarantees faster input and accessibility of information in the database. In simplify.art app one can add artworks or contacts, search and filter one’s database, share artworks, create reports and documents and save shared artworks.
CEO and founder, Victoria Dejaco, came up with the idea of launching simplify.art while working as a collection manager. “Very often collection databases still consist of excel lists. Imagine collections, worth millions of euros, being managed manually via lists. It’s a nightmare for anyone who has to maintain or share that information,” Victoria says. She believes that the art world needs archiving software that works offline when one is in the storage room, an app that works on mobile and can be easily used without any extra training.
Simplify.art aims to be more than just an archiving system. “The expansion potential of simplify.art’s existing features is huge,” Victoria says. For example, hacked emails are a big problem in art acquisitions. Simplify.art wants to solve that. Furthermore, one-click art insurance, as well as expansion of data exchange are on the team’s timeline for 2023.
“The biggest chunk, however, is definitely the AI art marketplace,” co-founder and CTO at simplify.art, Glenn Vanbavinckhove, says. “We want to use an algorithm to replace what previously required an international network of contacts in the art scene. We will be giving access to new artworks and artists by exactly matching the individual and topical focus of a certain collection or research. Glenn Vanbavinckhove brings a wealth of technological expertise with AI and data modelling to the table.” Glenn previously worked as a Director of Data Science for Deloitte and KPMG in Australia, and also co-founded a successful FinTech startup.
The reason why I chose .ART was because I wanted the company name to be the domain. I wanted everything to be as simple as possible. In order for this principle of simplicity to be felt in every detail, the first step was to choose the company’s name – the domain is precisely describing what we do as a company.
When have you launched the company? How many years did it take to develop the concept?
I bought the domain name very early on – in 2018. In 2017 I was still working for a private art collection and have managed it till 2019. During these years I’ve already started thinking about simplify.art together with the programmer. In 2020 we had the first MVP out. It has been three years of the product’s existence. I have developed it with assistants, friends and students until 2022. And since last September we have an amazing CTO on board and it goes way faster. Everything blows up right now. In the last six months we’ve raised 700.000 euro. Now I have a feeling like I’ve arrived at where it was planned.
How is simplify.art different from, for example, Artlogic?
I used Artlogic and Artbutler before. Artlogic is mainly a sales tool for galleries, with an inventory and databases. It covers so many things that the level of complexity is beyond most of their users. I have managed a private collection before. If I had something like simplify.art back then, it would have been a breeze. It works on Android, IOS, on any browser. Artlogic, for ex., works only on IOS. Anybody with Android can’t have it on mobile. But we work so much on mobiles these days, sometimes more frequently than on other devices. Knowing how it is to manage a collection, you have to be in touch with so many artists, but if you need some information from them, they need to send you an email, Dropbox or Wetransfer links or any of the other things that they use. You have to copy paste, there might be some typos. Not everybody has access to the same system. But it would have made everybody’s work so much easier. Simplify.art has a free basic version that everyone can download and get started. You can upload all the information and share it. The free basic version was very important to me from a perspective of taking care of cultural heritage. Lots of people are surrounded by art: buying, producing, inheriting it. In order to take care of art – you don’t need money. You can download a free app and get started with an archive. Once you have an archive and it’s visually in front of you, it’s so much easier to communicate it, monetise it, etc. These were the most important principles for me, which I haven’t seen other people doing. Most of the other apps gear towards galleries. They have a million features, because they are B2B. They have a huge sales force and they don’t cater to a single individual who has a passion for art. I want everyone, who has a passion for art, to have a no-brainer solution of where they keep their art. Even if it’s this moment, when you are in a museum, you see the work that you like and you take a picture of a label. If you have one dedicated app, where you can enter all the art related info, it helps to create your own art place.
I can truly relate to it. I’ve taken numerous pictures of art works and labels throughout the years, posting them on IG, in order not to forget about their existence and keep the visual memory alive.
Exactly, that’s what I am talking about but then when you want to remember or go back to something – no chance to find it. So here comes simplify.art. And imagine how it will feel like when you don’t have to type in the information anymore. When you can just hold the app over the artwork info and it will just be added automatically. That’s where we are headed: as a next step we are creating language modules, which will understand art history and will be able to suggest art works which are related to the topics and specific interests. We will launch it in September. And you will never have to photograph a label anymore – you will just be able to scan it. And the same goes for collectors, who have been acquiring works for the past 20 years. There will be 2 big folders with all the invoices. You will be able to scan them and upload to simplify.art.
How can you describe a general portrait of a user of simplify.art? I understand that it can be used by artists, curators, collectors, etc. Do you see any tendencies towards certain audiences?
Our main target and focus are the collectors. However, because it’s a free tool, the number of artists using it grows way faster. At the moment we have 60-65% of artists, 30% collectors, and the rest – galleries and the other art institutions.
We are based in Vienna, but the app is available in the App Store, so there are no limits. The main three countries are switching places between Germany, North America and a third European country. But we do have users from almost every country in the world.
How do you market yourself? Do you work on some special collaborations? Or is it something on the way?
We have started paid marketing in March 2023. And we’ve got a 75% increase in revenue since then. So we are doing paid marketing through Google ads, on FB and IG. We’ve done a full page in Frieze magazine during Art Basel. We’ve gotten more scans than any other Frieze magazine ad ever has via QR code.
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