The hardest thing.

Paul Becker
3 min readJun 7, 2024


This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write.

The business I founded, Art Money, has run out of operating capital and I’ve let down a lot of people who believed in it, and in me.

After almost 10 years of growth, we’ve made the difficult decision to pause business operations whilst we recapitalise.

This means that from 10 June 2024, new clients will not be able to apply for finance, and existing clients will not be able to make new purchases. At least for now. For clarification, all galleries, artists and art sellers have been paid, or will be shortly — that’s a different bucket of money (the debt side).

I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far

  • 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, the first steps in building a sustainable creative economy for artists and art industry stakeholders
  • 20,000+ artworks have been purchased with Art Money
  • Clients have used Art Money at more than 40 auction houses globally including Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams & Phillips
  • We’ve raised USD$10m equity investment from over 135 investors including Christie’s Ventures
  • Secured $100m debt finance (for art purchases, as we pay sellers before we get paid)
  • Built the world’s only global art fintech, solving a real art market problem. Increasing access to art empowering people buying the 98% of art purchases under $1m

However we are yet to achieve

  • USD$5m additional equity investment to take us to profitability by end 2025.


No excuses, nevertheless we’ve faced a perfect storm of related events

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

Founders really only have 3 jobs

  1. Set and communicate the vision
  2. Build a great team
  3. Don’t run out of money

After 10 years and with clients from 4 countries, I’ve fallen short on job #3.

That’s the operating capital side of the business (wages, tech, regulatory…) that keeps the business running. Like any business that is pre-profitability, including most startups and early stage companies, investor funds are required to bridge the gap to profitability whether you are Uber or Amazon or Art Money. We are around 18 months away from that.

What’s next?

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. It ideally needs a combination of strategic partners from the industry, a ‘coalition of the willing’ if you like, that are united in growing the art market for all stakeholders to benefit. I know there is strong community support for the business model however it would be unfair to ask the community to lead any new investment of this size.

I created this business because I believed I could make a difference in the world. That together we could positively impact this industry we love on a global scale. Make a better (art) world. Like most founders that is what has driven me over the last decade, despite considerable personal and financial cost.

So I don’t know what’s next really. We still have the potential to be a $1bn business if we get it right, which becomes the engine for making a real impact on the lives of many, putting more art and culture into the world, something I believe the world needs now more than ever.

Is the opportunity still there? I remain positive. If you are interested in joining me to make generational change in the art world, please get in touch.




Paul Becker

Art entrepreneur, passionate about culture change, making art more accessible & building a sustainable creative economy. Australian Founder & CEO of Art Money.