Paddle8 is an online auction house based in New York City selling fine art including Post-War and Contemporary art, prints & multiples, photography, street art and collectibles, founded in 2011 by Alexander Gilkes, Aditya Julka, and Osman Khan. Paddle8's sales focus on pieces priced between $1,000 and $100,000, all vetted by specialists for authenticity. Paddle8 has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong. In 2016, Paddle8 merged with the Berlin online auction house Auctionata. In February 2017, Auctionata declared insolvency and Paddle8 became an independent company once again.
Paddle8 was founded in May 2011 by Alexander Gilkes (a former LVMH executive and the chief auctioneer at Phillips auction house), Aditya Julka (an entrepreneur and Harvard Business School Baker Scholar), and Osman Khan (a banker with experience at Goldman Sachs and Perella Weinberg Partners and a Harvard Business School MBA).
Initially created as a broad platform for presenting exhibitions of contemporary art online, Paddle8 refined its business model to focus solely on auctions. Paddle8 connects buyers and sellers of fine art, collectibles, design, jewelry, and watches through an online auction platform and an iPhone app. In 2014, Paddle8 sold more than $35.8 million worth of art, a 146% gain over the previous year.
Since its founding, Paddle8 has also partnered with over 300 non-profit organizations worldwide, from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Guggenheim, to present their benefit auctions online, dramatically expanding their audience of supporters by tapping into Paddle8's community of 500,000 collectors. By January 2015, Paddle8 had presented more than 500 benefit auctions.
By October 2015, Paddle8 had raised $44 million from leaders from across the art, luxury, media, and tech industries. Paddle8's $4-million Series A round was led by Founder Collective  and Mousse Partners.
In June 2013, Paddle8 announced $6 million in funding from new investors, including artist Damien Hirst, Alexander von Fürstenberg, Russian mogul Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Matthew Mellon, and Jay Jopling, owner of White Cube.
In October 2015, Paddle8 announced $34 million in Series C funding. New investors represented an array of notable figures from the worlds of technology, art and luxury, including newest Paddle8 board member David Zwirner, one of the most influential international art dealers; German collector and investor Rolf Sachs; Eric Fellner, co-chairman of Working Title Films; and Edgar Berger, Chairman and CEO International of Sony Music Entertainment. The round also saw participation from existing investors including Mousse Partners, Damien Hirst, Jay Jopling of White Cube Gallery; and Stavros Niarchos, a collector and entrepreneur.
Paddle8 also partners with non-profit institutions to host their benefit auctions online, opening up their fundraising prospects to Paddle8's global community of collectors. As of January 2015, Paddle8 had raised more than $33 million for non-profit organizations around the world.
Merger with Auctionata
In May 2016, Paddle8 and Berlin-based online auction platform Auctionata announced that they would merge, creating a company with more specialties and broader international reach. In September 2016 the joint company announced the appointment of a new CEO, Thomas Hesse. In February 2017, Auctionata declared insolvency and Paddle8 became an independent company once again, with two of Paddle8's co-founders Alexander Gilkes and Osman Khan leading a buy back of the company backed by private equity from a multi-family office called Lightyear Collective, which was incorporated in Delaware only in January 2017 and its members were not disclosed, but are known to include Christopher Hsu, the hedge fund manager who runs the Hong Kong-based Kilometre Capital Management.
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