Business – Going once, going twice, sold! Auctionata modernizes the auction house with $20M from VCs

auction houseThe traditional auction house calls up visions of designer-clad older women, raising white paddles to bid on antique chairs as coiffed poodles sit in their lap. Aucionata is redefining this notion with its online live auctions.

Today, the company announced investors are throwing down $20.2 million to support global expansion, recruiting, and product development.

Auctionata claims to be the first patented online producer of live auctions. Its community of 250 specialists find, curate, authenticate, and appraise valuable objects, and make it easier for millions of private sellers, collectors, and dealers to sell their objects in an auction with an international reach, instead of in the “regional and highly fragmented, old-style auction houses.” In a statement issued this morning, Auctionta said it is offered a painting, book, or antique cabinet for sale every five minutes and has processed over 21,000 requests for professional appraisal services.  Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 10.02.16 AM

Auctions are held on the site every Friday at 6 pm CET and buyers can look at what will be sold ahead of time. Objects range from a collection of fine wines to collectors railroads to jewelry, and this Friday, it will auction off an original watercolor titled Reclining Woman by famed Austrian artists Egon Schiele, with a starting price of $1.5 million.

“Unlike traditional auction houses, where the excitement naturally falls off after each auction, the combination of online auctions and online shop generates a high experience factor for potential buyers and sellers alike,” said Alexander Zacke, CEO of Auctionata in the statement.

As it is wont to do, the online model opens up the opportunities for distribution and access to people on both sides of the marketplace once a level of trust, security, and authenticity is established. The company assures customers that their appraisal process is exhaustive. Objects can also be bought and sold in the online store.

Auctionata was founded in Berlin last year and has since met with interest and growth from buyers, sellers, and investors. Earlybird, Bright Capital, Kite Ventues, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, eVenture Capital Partners and the Raffay Group all contributed. Auctionata has 100 employees and offices in Berlin and New York.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Auctionata screenshot