An Australian company providing buy now, pay later services to purchase expensive artworks has paused operations after running out of money – but its founder and CEO claims it could still be a billion-dollar business.
Art Money has secured $100 million in debt finance, raised $US10 million (about $15 million) and facilitated the purchase of more than 20,000 works of art in 50 countries since it was founded in Australia in 2015 by Paul Becker.

However, it is yet to secure an additional $US5 million in equity, which Becker says is required for it to be profitable by the end of next year, leading the business to pause operations.

Art Money is a buy now, pay later service for purchasing artworks.
Art Money, an Australian buy now, pay later service for purchasing artworks, is on the brink of collapse. (Art Money)

“Art Money has run out of operating capital and I’ve let down a lot of people who believed in it, and in me,” Becker wrote in a statement on Art Money’s website late last week.

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

“This means that from June 8, 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.”

Becker said all galleries, artists and other sellers have or shortly will be paid for art purchased through the business.

Art Money founder and CEO Paul Becker.
Paul Becker said the business needs new investors to survive. (Michael Quelch/AFR)

He said Art Money was still about 18 months away from profitability and needed new investors to survive.

“We need to recapitalise the business. It’s been bootstrapped since inception and we’ve achieved a lot with a little,” he said.

“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.

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“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 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.”

Becker said that while he wasn’t making excuses, high interest rates, low levels of investment, and the global economic downturn leading to less demand for art made a “perfect storm” that led to the pause in operations.

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