Art-based Australian BNPL platform, Art Money, has been forced to halt business operations. From 8 June, new clients have not be able to apply for finance, and existing clients are unable to make new purchases. Art Money founder and CEO, Paul Becker, says that all galleries, artists and art sellers have been paid, or will be shortly.

Art Money: 8,500+ clients

“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far,” said Becker. 8,500+ clients have used Art Money to enable or empower their art buying. 2,000+ galleries from 50 countries have partnered with Art Money. 20,000+ artworks have been purchased with Art Money. Over 1,000 purchases from auction houses including Christie’s, Sotheby’s and 40 others have been made.”

To date, Art Money has raised $10m in equity investment, It also secured $100m debt finance for art purchases.

Becker added: “We built the world’s only global art fintech, solving a real art market problem and increasing access to art by empowering the 98% of art purchases under $1m.”

However, the firm never broke even, let alone turned a profit.

$5m needed to hit profitability claims founder

“$5m additional equity investment would take us to profitability by end 2025,” said Becker. He said the firm faced a perfect storm of related events

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“Art market contraction reflecting the global economic downturn, impacted sales growth, although we have grown in every quarter except one since inception. A lack of growth capital as equity markets dried up. We still raised however less than our targets. Interest rates compressing margins and reducing profitability in the short term, albeit we still have strong unit economics (we make money on each sale).

“We need to recapitalise the business. It’s been bootstrapped since inception and we’ve achieved a lot with a little. Whilst the model is now proven, and common in every other industry except art, the business cannot go to the next stage and realise its potential without sufficient equity capital.”

Given the large number of Australian BNPL failures and the lack of profits across the entire BNPL sector, there will be many who question his claim that the model is proven in every other industry.