Auctionata is an online auction house and eCommerce company specialising in luxury goods, art, antiques and collectibles. Based in Berlin, Auctionata employes 250 experts who value, authenticate, and curate art objects. Since opening in February 2012, Auctionata has evaluated and verified over 21,000 pieces of art. Notably, Auctionata's experts discovered a watercolour by Egon Schiele, which was valued at a starting price of $1.3 million (€1 million).
Auctionata was founded in 2012 by Alexander Zacke, Susanne Zacke and Georg Untersalmberger with investment capital provided by the Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group and the Otto GmbH Group. The online shop was launched in September 2012, and Auctionata's first auction was held in December 2012.
On 22 May 2013, Auctionata announced a strategic partnership with Chrono24, a large specialty marketplace for luxury watches. This partnership included 52 auctions over several years.
In February 2013, Auctionata raised $20.2 million of funding through investment firms Earlybird Venture Capital, E.ventures, Bright Capital, Edward Shenderovich of Kite Ventures, as well as with previous funders Holtzbrinck, Otto and the Raffay Group.
Technology of live stream auctions
Prior to every auction, Auctionata provides information for all items to be auctioned on its website. The auction itself is held in a TV-studio, and is streamed live on the internet using a content delivery network. The auctions are led by a licenced auctioneer and bids are accepted by phone, online, by absentee bid, as well as from the studio floor. Auctionata uses a system developed by its founders, Zacke and Untersalmberger, allowing it to transmit the live video stream from the auction using a Real-time operating system without delays. According to the founder, Alexander Zacke, the technology of live auctions primarily was developed to compete with multinational auction houses, including Christie's and Sotheby's. Since potential bidders no longer have to physically attend the auctions, Auctionata's online auctions have been criticised for not promoting the same aura as might be found in traditional auction houses.
In December 2012, Auctionata auctioned the painting "Roses II", which is attributed to Oskar Kokoschka. Though the painting had been sold to the Bremen tobacco entrepreneur Wolfgang Ritter for 80,000 deutschmarks in 1966 (approx. €151,469 / $204,679 taking into account inflation), and Kokoschka himself wrote a handwritten note of authenticity for the painting, the painting's authenticity was now being questioned by the Oskar Kokoschka Foundation. Auctionata published the Foundation's critique immediately upon receiving it and the painting eventually sold for only $9,975 (€7,500).
Auctionata additionally auctioned a newly discovered watercolor, "Reclining Woman" by Egon Schiele. The painting was sold for $2.4 million (€1,827,250), the highest grossing piece of fine art sold at an online auction.
Online auction world record
On June 23, 2015, Auctionata sold a rare enamel, ivory-mounted, and paste-set musical and automaton clock from the late eighteenth century for 3.37 million euros ($3,8 million) to the Shanghai-based billionaire and art collector Liu Yiqian.
Notable mergers and acquisitions
On September 25, 2015, Auctionata bough the London based valuation website Valuemystuff.com, one of the largest online valuation companies in the world with over 469,000 valuations and 400,000 customers.
On May 12, 2016, Auctionata and Paddle8 announced that they'll merge. The merged company would have a turnover of more than $150 million.
At the 2012 Digital Life Design conference Auctionata was awarded the Digital Star Award as one of the most promising German internet start-ups.