Framd: George Panton
Name: George Panton
Company Name: Framd
Date Launched: 02/04/2019
Number of employees: 2
Which university did you attend? UWE Bristol University
Would you ‘swipe right’ for Van Gogh? How about a ‘super like’ for Picasso? Framd is revolutionising the art world as it stands by offering a “Tinder style” swipe system for buying and selling art. We’ve seen fintech, proptech, femtech and now art-tech’s time to shine: enter, Framd.
George Panton’s painting the worlds of art and tech red with an arty startup app like no other. Read on for the full lowdown in our exclusive Q&A.
Tell us what your business does:
Framd is an online resource for both artists and art buyers, which aims to turn art sector’s archaic practices around. Framd removes sales commission and provides members with valuable tools and data to create a platform that’s totally transparent and focussed on the success of the many, not just the few.
We also use big data and machine learning to shed light on the concept of artistic ‘taste’. We have done this using a Tinder-style swipe mechanism that asks users for a binary “yes” or “no” answer to the all important question: “do you like this?”.
We now have just over two million swipes which are revealing some fascinating patterns. We recognise and utilise those patterns to predict peoples’ choices, getting it right a massive 84% of the time.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I have always had an interest in art and simply coupled this with my financial experience and passion for technology. The concept for Framd has all the right ingredients and it was the right time for me.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Having witnessed the frustration of many artist friends, I knew there was scope for a radical change that will remove the inherent, centuries old one-sided practice present within the art world.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was in Private Equity before I set up Framd. Incidentally, this is how I met my business partner, Jitendra Bansal: I spent some time advising an Indian health care business based in Delhi, India. Jitendra was one of their talented developers and we just hit it off right away.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, it’s always been something I’ve had a passion to do.
How did you raise the money?
Through my own savings and private investors.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Framd does not charge sales commission. Instead, it charges a flat fee of £2.50 per upload. This is unusual in the art world as artists are used to paying galleries at least 50% of the artwork’s sale price. With Framd, however, artists know that when they sell their work, they will be getting 100% of the sale. We will also be launching a subscription-based model in the very near future.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Building a two-sided marketplace is incredibly difficult, you’re constantly trying to match chickens with eggs, if you catch my drift! As in, you can’t have one without the other and vice versa. The only way to overcome this has been patience, I’m a pretty impatient person (as I think most entrepreneurs are) so this has been the greatest challenge for me. The only way I’ve dealt with this by having a great deal of confidence in the concept and by defining success in small incremental steps.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Probably the first ever paid upload from someone I didn’t personally know was the first big breakthrough. It was about two weeks after our beta product became available on the App Store. At the time we had ten paintings on the platform, so having someone get the concept and pay to upload to the platform was the moment when I knew we were on to something.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
If you really believe something is possible, it usually is, hang in there! Even though breaking into a new market or offering something new may feel daunting, those often are the ideas which are the most successful.
It helps to take influences from other success stories. As opposed to the art world, which I believe is morally and conceptually missing the point, I use the world of tech as a source of inspiration. When I’m searching for an innovative or different approach, I look to platforms like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Uber and Deliveroo for ‘out of the box’ ideas.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I want to be in a place where we have achieved everything we have set out to do with Framd, that is, to have made a significant impact in levelling the playing field for artists to have a fair chance at selling their work more successfully. It’s as simple as that.