As with many excellent ideas, the concept of Paddle8 started with a philosophical conversation over a round of libations. Recognizing the increasing thirst for access to contemporary art, co-founders Alexander Gilkes and Aditya Julka joined forces with the goal of bringing the storied auction house tradition into the digital age for what they identified as the growing global audience of 21st-century collectors: a discriminating group with eclectic tastes, culture savants who expect 24/7 access to their passions.
Gilkes (LVMH veteran and Chief Auctioneer at Phillips), Julka (a serial entrepreneur and Harvard Business School MBA), Osman Khan (a Perella Weinberg investment banker and Harvard Business School MBA), and Hikari Yokoyama (a curator and Deitch Projects alumna) comprised the founding team, which launched Paddle8 in 2011.
Today, Paddle8 is a team of 100 art and technology experts, servicing an audience of discerning collectors from over 120 countries, from offices in New York, London and Los Angeles.
Paddle8 is funded by a consortium of investors who represent the intersection of the art world with fashion, media, and luxury. They include VC firm Founder Collective, which previously backed Uber, Buzzfeed, Vimeo, and Makerbot; Mousse Partners, the private investment firm affiliated with a leading luxury goods company, with recent investments represented by Paperless Post, Warby Parker, and Bonobos; Skate Capital, an asset management firm focused on media, e-commerce, and the arts, with investments including ARTnews, IMAX, and The Art Newspaper; angel investor Scott Belsky, the founder of Behance; and Winklevoss Capital, experienced investors in e-commerce and media. Individual investors include art-world insiders such as Damien Hirst, Alexander von Furstenberg, members of the Mellon family, White Cube gallerist Jay Jopling and curator Hikari Yokoyama.