Serge is an avid collector as well as dealer in international Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art. He is an artist mentor and co-founder of an auction house. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Artist Pension Trust and as board member of MutualArt.com.
In addition, he had a 10 year career with Citigroup, running the Wealth Management division in Israel & Turkey. Currently, he is running two unique art investment models – an artist incubator project: www.st-art.co.il and a developing markets contemporary art fund: www.tirochedeleon.com.
Serge’s unique skills, experience and network in the Art and Finance industries come to bear in his role as Chairman of ArtRunners.
How I became an ArtRunner
Growing up in an art dealing family I heard endless complaints about how expensive the logistics were and how often there were problems with damaged, or even worse, stolen or lost artworks; often resulting in lengthy and costly claims negotiations with insurers.
When I was preparing the grounds for launching Art Vantage, an emerging markets contemporary art fund I co-founded in 2011, as part of my fiduciary responsibility to investors, I undertook extensive research in an effort to generate savings and enjoy economies of scale in logistics. I researched storage, insurance and shipping solutions. Once operations commenced, I had made it a principal for my collection manager to obtain at least 3 competing quotes prior to contracting a shipper. I soon realized that sometimes in emerging markets that isn’t even possible as there aren’t enough shippers specialized in art, with some countries totally monopolized, resulting in exorbitant rates. I felt that the process was generally too lengthy and occasionally even futile; and almost always frustrating. So I asked other collectors, galleries and even museum registrars if they were aware of a more efficient way to go about the task. There was none. Unlike flights, hotels, shopping, taxi, etc.. no directory existed and certainly no offline or online comparison service/site. The art logistics industry was spared by the internet.
Then as luck would have it, in the fall of 2014, within the space of 2-3 days, I had consecutive conversations with my now co-founders Daniel and Lilian about the need for such a solution. Two weeks later I met Lilian in person at Art Basel Miami, where we spent long hours discussing/brainstorming the outcome of her research. The solution seemed pretty straight forward from a technological point of view, and the initial research revealed a market eager for change, on both the client and service provider side. The complexity lay in understanding and then analyzing a mammoth amount of details and intricacies than can be part of every single transaction, and being able to build smart sorting models that can provide enough data for service providers to be able to provide accurate quotations, while simultaneously keeping it simple and user friendly for clients. So our IP would lay in the proprietary algorithms we would develop. Estimated transaction volumes certainly appeared quite large, and with no competitor in sight, it seemed like an opportunity not to be missed. We asked ourselves why this obvious market gap was not tapped into before us, and concluded it was due to two main factors: the dominant shippers benefitted immensely from the status quo, and only a complete outsider with substantial market credibility and capital might possibly be able to create a community of users and service providers large enough to justify the investment.
I thought the challenge was big but achievable. That we had a great little team forming with people that were passionate about making an impact. That fate would not have brought us together unless it was finally time for me to get into a pure tech/internet start-up, something I had been considering for a long time. It felt right. So we agreed to start a company there and then. Less than 2 months later we added Morris as CFO, and ArtRunners was officially open for business.
Serge Tiroche brings 25 years of experience as a collector, artist mentor, dealer, financier, investor, auction house founder and art fund manager.
Daniel is CEO and VP Product at ArtRunners and is responsible for setting the company’s strategy, its direction and capital allocation. He is a visionary who specialises in the development and execution of innovative, go to market, brand building and growth strategies.
Daniel has unique interpersonal skills which enable him to build a motivated and a high-performing team, influence the skeptics and establish key strategic personal and business partnerships. As the product owner, Daniel is excited about creating solutions that solve actual needs, finding creative ways to overcome challenges while building increasing adoption that generates revenues.
From his experience as collection manager Daniel has a perfect understanding of the challenges of art logistics from personal experience – especially when moving art in and from emerging art markets. In search for the adequate service provider that would deliver the artwork under his management on time, in perfect condition and to the satisfactions of the collection owner, Daniel and his partners came to the conclusion that a qualified solution to this problem was lacking. The idea to the algorithm behind ArtRunner’s ranking system came out of his own practical needs. As an art historian Daniel is passionate about the object’s needs.
How I became an ArtRunner
From 2013 to mid-2015 I was running the operations of the Tiroche DeLeon Collection. This unique collection consists of more than 400 artworks by artists from emerging markets and is the principal asset of Art Vantage, an innovative Art Fund.
My responsibilities included coordinating the extensive lending program, preparing quarterly financial reports, and managing the day to day operations of a global collection. As a matter of fiduciary responsibility it was also my duty to find the most effective service providers for the fund’s complex shipping needs, working with multiple providers as well as storage facilities on four continents.
I can’t forget how frustrated I felt when I had to deal with a new acquisition by a Filipino artist – a painting of approximately one square meter, was to be shipped from the Philippines to our Hong Kong storage. All I had to do was coordinate between a capable fine art shipper in the Philippines and my account manager in the HK storage. What started as a simple task ended as up being a nightmare: it took me almost 6 months to find an appropriate fine are service provider who could make the simple shipment to the country next door – dozens of ongoing email exchanges, numerous documents to sign including waivers of liability, extremely divergent quotes and opacity over tax rules which I had to consider, and most frustratingly – doing all this with limited communication due to the 7 hour time zone difference. After eventually contracting the shipper, the work was ended up being packed differently than what I had asked for, resulting in higher charges than originally quoted.
I can’t forget the day when I suddenly realized that this sad reality is actually an opportunity for something much bigger. A place where someone, anyone, from an intern in a gallery, to a global art collector or large museum could have access to a one-stop-shop for art logistics… with all the information needed to take a decision handy. A place where one can receive multiple quotes and really understand and be able to compare them, where one can read service provider reviews by peers, keep all logistics records and financials in one place, track the artworks on their journey and more… a revolution.
Daniel Lev-er, an experienced collection manager is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction, capital allocation and leads the product development.
Morris is an experienced CFO who has held senior management positions in diverse industries: Telecommunications, Internet, Mobile Applications, Medical Devices, Retail and Real Estate.
He has worked with VCs, Hedge Funds, Private Equity firms, Family Offices and individuals. He was also involved in a number of M&A transactions with public companies listed on the NASDAQ, NYSE and TSX.
How I became an ArtRunner
With over 20 years of experience as entrepreneur and executive working with hi-tech companies in Israel, I have several very specific criteria I check before deciding to join a company. I look for a real and immediate need that is unresolved and where technology can have a large impact; a sizeable market; a strong team of highly relevant market specific experts; a proven business model that has succeeded in other industries; and finally, defensibility in the form on unique IP, first mover advantage and/or high barriers to entry.
When I was introduced to the company via a leading hi-tech lawyer, who is also an avid art collector, I came to conduct my own due diligence. Quite quickly I became convinced that ArtRunners ticks all the boxes and a few more. The rest was easy, or as we call it at ArtRunners… Simple.
Morris Azulay is an experienced CFO with a proven track record in fundraising. He led numerous financing transactions, primarily from leading Venture Capital firms.
Sven Koster is an innovative technology visionary with a strong background in the software industry with 20 years of experience as a senior developer and software architect with focus on security. Most of his career he worked at a major bank in The Netherlands.
Sven has a proven track record in leading complex, mission critical, large scale distributed systems’ development. Deep knowledge of software modelling, design and architecture and agile methodologies. Working for a major bank he knows the importance of security, availability and privacy.
How I became an ArtRunner
Most of my career is was working in a major bank in the Netherlands. Here security, integrity and privacy are the most important parts of the website. I was always fascinated by new technologies and how they can be of use in a large organisation.
I’m always fascinated how to create the best solution as I am very aware the total solution can’t be good if one part is bad.
When I was approached for a position in the ArtRunners team, I was fascinated by the combination of IT and Art and I liked the change from a very large bank to a startup. I felt this startup can really change the fine art logistics market.
Sven Koster is an innovative technology visionary with a strong background in the software industry with 20 years of experience as a senior developer and software architect with focus on security.
Michelle is Sales and Marketing Manager at ArtRunners, with responsibilities for marketing strategy, branding, sales and business development. She is a proven revenue leader, with experience taking fast-paced technology companies to critical growth milestones. While living in New York, she gained notable experience in start-ups, directing partner initiatives and sales teams.
Michelle holds a Master’s Degree in Communications and New Media from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. She graduated with Dean’s Honors.
How I became an ArtRunner
Art was always part of Michelle’s life. Be it growing up or while working and travelling around the world, she often visited museums, galleries and artists. She was always passionate about both art and technology and was intent on developing her career in the intersection between art and business.
While living in New York, she heard about the ArtRunners solution to art logistics, and was fascinated by the company’s business model and objectives. The combination of art world exposure in a sales and marketing role, for a technological platform, is the perfect match for her skills and ambitions.
Michelle Eldan leads the marketing, sales, business development and competitive intelligence of ArtRunners, with a deep focus on the strategic vision of the company.
Uri brings years of experience as an Operations Manager to ArtRunners. He is responsible managing day-to-day activities and business operations.
Uri manages ArtRunners’ international network of fine art logistics service providers. He maintains ongoing relationships with these service providers and is responsible for vetting, training, onboarding, and supporting them. Uri also acts as a liaison between different areas of the company and strategizes how the teams can work most efficiently with one another.
In addition, Uri is responsible for the overall legal and financial aspects of the platform.
Uri holds a degree in Political Science, Economics and Maritime Studies from the University of Haifa. He graduated with dean’s honors.
How I became an ArtRunner
For many years, I was working as a Navy Officer and was a Vice Commander in a complex craft where I was responsible for operations management, strategy, and using both internal and external communications tools. I was also responsible for managing a large crew. When I came across ArtRunners, I was immediately fascinated and eager to utilize my rich experience from the military world and apply it to the high-tech industry.
Uri is an experienced Operations Manager and is responsible for the daily operations of the company. Uri is also responsible for developing ArtRunners’ international network of fine art logistics service providers.
We are honored to be supported by a multidisciplinary team of advisory board members. In their important role as our trusted experts, they contribute to realise our mutual vision for advancement in the field of fine art logistics. Together they bring a wealth of expertise in the art market, logistics, finance.
Mr. Servais is trained in investment banking and worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert in Wall Street, SocGen Strauss Turnbull as well as James Capel in London and held the position of Head of International Bond Trading at the private Banque Dewaay in Brussels. Currently Mr. Servais consults independently for banks in the management of Asset-Backed Securities.
In the art world Mr. Servais has an equally impressive footprint as collector, entrepreneur and avid “information sharer” (@aservais1). Mr. Servais is a passionate and committed Contemporary Art collector and member of numerous art juries and collectors’ committees among which the Art Basel’s Council of Global Patrons.
In 2014 and 2015 Mr. Servais was selected for the list of “Top 200 Art Collectors Worldwide” by Artnet. He was also named one of “The 50 Most Exciting Art Collectors Under 50” by Blouinartinfo. Mr. Servais founded and designed Registr’art, the service company to private collectors, as well as the smartphone app European Art Tour (E.Art.T).
Being based on a wealth of experience in fine art logistics from a collector’s perspective, Mr. Servais’ advice will be key to the design and strategic direction of ArtRunners.
Alain Servais is investment banker by training and a lucid member of the art world combining experience as collector, entrepreneur and vivid “information sharer”.
Bambi Blumberg is a highly experienced Arts professional with an extensive background in benefactor relations, communications, event concepts, business development, marketing and sponsorship. She has developed a vast network within the Arts sector, nationally and internationally, where she has successfully initiated and developed innovative benefactor programmes, successful fundraising campaigns and bespoke art tours whilst working for many years at Sydney’s leading state institution, The Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Currently Bambi consults to Art Basel, the esteemed international art fair, as VIP Representative for Australia and New Zealand. Bambi consults to international luxury brands where she has successfully developed art collaborations and sophisticated art events to enhance company brand awareness whilst developing new client audiences. Bambi consults to Australia’s Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation where she developed a successful patrons group and organises exclusive programs relevant to patrons’ interests. Bambi advises leading Australian property companies who are using art to improve the quality of work spaces and enrich the lives of the professionals within them. Bambi is Director of Barta & Partner Australasia, a boutique fine art insurance provider.
Bambi is a collector and philanthropist and has recently been invited to join London’s Tate Modern Asia Pacific Art Committee.
Bambi Blumberg is a highly experienced Arts professional with an extensive background in benefactor relations, communications, event concepts, business development, marketing and sponsorship.
Thomas Galbraith is a Partner at The Petraeus Group, where he consults with start-ups and companies in the luxury and art markets, advising on growth strategies. He was previously Managing Director at Paddle8, responsible for managing Paddle8’s worldwide sales operations. Thomas has deep experience in the online art landscape, among other positions, having worked at artnet AG serving as Director of Global Strategy.
Thomas Galbraith consults with start-ups in the luxury and art markets, advising on growth strategies. He was previously Managing Director at Paddle8.
Andrew Littlejohn is an Executive Director in the Global Clients Group at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Based in New York, Andrew and his colleagues advise UHNW European, Middle Eastern and Asian clients with global interests and mindsets. In addition to providing J.P. Morgan’s traditional suite of banking and asset management services, Andrew also works with some of the world’s most prominent art collectors on financial and wealth planning issues relevant to their collecting activities. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Andrew founded and served as Managing Partner of Meridian Art Partners, an art investment and advisory business based in New York, London and Singapore. He also held senior positions at both Phillips de Pury & Company and Christie’s International Plc. Andrew earned a BA, Phi Beta Kappa with High Honors from the University of Georgia and an MA with Distinction from the University of Manchester (Sotheby’s Institute of Art London).
Andrew F. Littlejohn is an Executive Director at J.P.Morgan advising prominent collectors on challenges related to collecting from a wealth planning perspective.
Ari is a social philanthropist and Dead Sea environmentalist with over twenty years of experience in consumer products, hi-tech, and art. Ari was born in New York City and holds an MBA from Kellogg Business School. He is on the Board of Governors of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and has spearheaded many cultural projects in Israel. One noteworthy project that Ari led was an installation with Spencer Tunick that was seen by over 500 million people. Ari has worked at several top high-tech corporations, including Microsoft and SanDisk, and is currently the Head of Business Development for Freightos. Ari currently resides in Tel Aviv and is an avid collector of Israeli contemporary art.
Ari is a highly experienced high tech professional with a passion for art collecting. He sits on the Board of Governors at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.