Artfact raises $13 million, merges with Auction Zip

This news could be fairly substantial to the auction industry. It seems that Auction Zip has merged with Artfact. Auction Zip is currently crushing it in the auction calendar space, and, depending on how they implement this Auctionzip Live bidding platform, they could be poised to pick up a very large user base of traditional auctioneers looking for a real-time Internet bidding solution.

Here”s the release from the Artfact website.

(Boston, MA) ” Artfact, the world’s leading online live auction marketplace announced today that it closed on $13 million of growth capital financing provided by Boston-based Commonwealth Capital Ventures and Ascent Venture Partners. Simultaneously, Artfact merged with Auctionzip, the world’s largest directory of live auction listings. In addition to facilitating the merger, the growth capital funding will be used to expand product development, marketing, and sales efforts.

Artfact and Auctionzip provide over 16,000 estate auctioneers of all sizes worldwide with a complete range of technology and marketing services including online live bidding, and integrated auction management software. Through their websites Auctionzip.com, Artfact.com, and Invaluable.com, the companies allow 2 million art, antiques, and collectible dealers and collectors unprecedented access to search over 160,000 estate auctions each year with a combined value of over $25 billion.

Adam Kirsch, Chairman and CEO of Artfact said, “The investment by Commonwealth and Ascent marks an important milestone for Artfact, and punctuates an exciting first year of growth in Arfact Live and Invaluable Live, our live auctions marketplaces for estate auctioneers. We are eager to have the support of two distinguished partners as we look forward to the launch of Auctionzip Live, and the SaaS version of our RFC auction management software in 2010.”

“Artfact and Auctionzip are the clear leaders in auction listings, live auction technology, auction management software, and auction data. We are excited to invest with Adam Kirsch and his team as they create the dominant global live auctions marketplace complete with the first true SaaS version of auction management software, commented Jeffrey Hurst, General Partner and Co-Founder of Commonwealth Capital Ventures.

Geoff Oblak, General Partner of Ascent Venture Capital, added, “Artfact’s merger with Auctionzip immediately strengthens the position of both companies within the live auctions market. Auctionzip’s unparalleled position with over 15,000 auctioneers in the U.S. is a terrific complement to Artfact’s position as the premium provider of online technology and marketing solutions to the top 1,000 international auction houses.”

It”ll be interesting to see how much of a “merger” this deal is. It sounds like more of a strategic alliance, since both companies are maintaining their own brands and websites. Time will tell, and we look forward to seeing what becomes of both entities.

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Aaron Traffas, CAI, ATS, CES

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Aaron Traffas, CAI, AMM, CES, is an auctioneer from Medicine Lodge, Kansas. He is currently community evangelist for Purple Wave in Manhattan, Kansas. Aaron serves as the current president elect for the Kansas Auctioneers Association and in the past has served on the National Auctioneers Association Education Institute Board of Trustees. He is a past instructor at CAI and co-wrote and instructed the ATS designation course from NAA. He currently instructs the Internet Auction Methods course offered by the NAA. During the summer, Aaron operates a farm in south central Kansas. Aaron is an active singer and songwriter and the Aaron Traffas Band's latest release, Enter: The Wind, can be found at iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.