Many sectors have suffered from the impact of the global coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic causing a worldwide lockdown, with the art world uniquely vulnerable, owing to so much of its revenue being tied to physical spaces. The sector is having to adapt to survive, and Niio, a Tel Aviv-based startup, is at the forefront of the digital art revolution.
Hosting more than 13,000 artworks, Niio has the biggest digital art collection in the world. The company’s technology enables you to stream the artworks onto any digital screen or canvas anywhere in the world, whether into huge public spaces, or into your own living room.
Digital art is an artistic work that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. Niio offers curated art collections of moving image art. Artists use Niio to store, preserve, and manage their own collections, to transfer digital artworks securely between entities, and to display them on any screen or projector, thus increasing their audience.
For artists, it is a portal through which they can store digital artworks, sell directly to collectors or make their work available for ‘loan’, whereby consumers can stream artworks in the way they would stream movies through Netflix or music on Spotify.
With Covid-19 closing art institutions the world over, Niio has experienced a significant spike in interest from artists, with 500 signing up in just two months and a waiting list of a further 2,000 which will soon take their network beyond 6,000 in total, Niio’s CEO and co-founder Rob Anders said in a recent interview with Calcalist.
“The impact of Covid-19 has been profound in the art world. It’s clear from all the press that digital and video art is the art of this moment. It’s really having its heyday,” Anders said.
“Because of the pandemic, artists have had their shows canceled and galleries closed, but they are still searching for ways to be engaging with an audience,” he added.
“Our market and audience are mostly international, mostly the U.S. and Asia. So far, between 5 and 10 million people have experienced our digital art technology,” he said. Some of the company’s customers include Hilton, Marriott, Samsung, and the Virgin Group, Anders said.
Because of the pandemic and the increase of video conferences on platforms including Zoom, the company has created a collection of virtual art Zoom backgrounds available for download on its site. So far, approximately 40,000 of these backgrounds have been downloaded, he said.
Niio’s technology uses blockchain and AI to ensure the privacy of all the art on its platform, and to track trends in pricing and consumer choices that help prompt artworks or artists you might enjoy, exactly like the Netflix homepage, for example.
Founded in 2014, Niiio has raised approximately $10 million to date from investors including Entree Capital and Picot Partners, and employs a team of 25 people.