Portfolio Company Spotlight – TradeMyLux with Bob Corsie

Our latest portfolio spotlight dives into TradeMyLux. In this exclusive interview, Bob Corsie, one of the co-founders, provides insights into TradeMyLux’s inception, the significance of TRICAPITAL’s support, and the ambitious plans set for 2024.

Can you offer us an overview of TradeMyLux, the background, core products and services?

About 20 years ago, I opened my first art gallery, and from day one, we were inundated with requests from people wanting to sell artwork. They often wanted to buy a piece of art but would have had to liquidate some of their current assets. The only viable solution at that time was auction houses, but it wasn’t ideal for contemporary art. Year after year, we’ve been asked this question, and as gallery owners, unless you set a business up specifically to handle the resale of assets and artworks, you can’t manage the process properly. Auction houses often undervalue artwork or impose high fees, leaving sellers with a small percentage of the market value.

So, four years ago, my co-founders and I saw the gap in the market and decided to create a real alternative to auction houses, leading to the birth of TradeMyLux.  Our focus is on achieving a balanced solution for sellers, buyers, and artists, emphasising transparency and liquidity. With millions of artworks stashed away, our goal is to make a substantial difference in the art industry’s liquidity. We went through trials, paused due to COVID, secured funding from TRICAPITAL, and now aim to refine our platform, branding and core team to provide a scalable and transparent solution to the art market.

Having recently concluded your investment round with TRICAPITAL, could you walk us through TradeMyLux’s journey as a portfolio company of TRICAPITAL, and share your experiences thus far?

TRICAPITAL stood out with their genuine interest in our venture and unwavering support for our credible team. We have diverse backgrounds, including a former RBS senior director, a marketing expert, and myself with over 20 years in the art market. TRICAPITAL believed in our proposition and provided crucial support, allowing us to secure the funding needed to take Trademylux to the next level.

What factors motivated TradeMyLux to pursue funding from TRICAPITAL?

TRICAPITAL’s close collaboration with Scottish Enterprise aligned with our vision of making a difference and growing the business community. Their support, coupled with the potential for match funding, made them an attractive choice.

As a proud Scot, I’m also passionate about building the business in Scotland and utilising the wisdom and support of our local investors.

Looking ahead, how do you anticipate the recent funding round impacting TradeMyLux’s progress, both in terms of immediate plans and overall growth?

The funds will be wisely used to refine our website, enhance branding, and build a dynamic team. We predict profitability after 18 months, providing a cushion for development. We also foresee rapid growth in both our database and artwork inventory. The absence of client hurdles and listing fees is expected to fuel this growth.

The company plans to utilise its expanding database strategically to venture into other market sectors. Recognising that individuals passionate about art may share similar interests in luxury items, TradeMyLux aims to cross-fertilise its clientele. For instance, one industry observation I’ve made is Sotheby’s forming specialised teams just to look at trainers. This really underscores the array of possibilities in the market.

In your experience, what distinguishes TRICAPITAL from other investor groups, and how do you think their support might contribute to the success of TradeMyLux, especially when compared to other investors or funding sources?

A number of TRICAPITAL’s members reached out as they have a keen interest in art, along with connections to multiple auction houses. They recognised there was a genuine opportunity there to do good for sellers and the art industry generally and make some profits as we go. Their genuine enthusiasm and support from the start have been instrumental in our journey and will hopefully contribute not just financially but also strategically to our success.

What plans does TradeMyLux have in store for 2024?

2024 is set to be an exciting and busy year! We’ll focus on building a robust and enthusiastic team, rebranding, and refining our website. Expect tremendous growth in clients, inventory, and overall impact as we capitalise on our data harvesting and client database. There’s a good chance we’ll have over 3 million pounds worth of inventory by the end of 2024. We currently sit with around £900,000 worth of inventory on the site and we can see that growing very quickly.

Lastly, is there any additional information or insights you would like to impart to our readers regarding TradeMyLux’s journey as a funded startup, your collaboration with TRICAPITAL, or noteworthy observations on the broader landscape of startup investing in Scotland?

I’d say patience is key in the startup journey, whether you’ve got a new idea or you’re looking for investment, going through that process is important. I’d also say that not all criticism is negative; use it to refine your business model. Work through hurdles diligently and it will be worth it.