Hoffman of Greylock Partners invested in the first round through the Greylock Discovery Fund alongside angel investor Sherry Coutu.
Artfinder is Greylock’s first investment in a company based in Europe. Financial details have not been disclosed, however, according to a statement from Wellington, Coutu will act as chairman of the company, which launched its website into public beta this month.
Through partnering with galleries, museums, libraries and artists internationally, Artfinder has built an online catalogue of fine art. More than 250,000 works from over 400 institutions are available on the website. Revenues from sales of apps, original artworks and print-on-demand items will be shared with partner institutions.
Wellington has backed several web companies and recently invested in Qype, Spotify, Livebookings and Adconion. Daniel Waterhouse of Wellington Partners is on Artfinder’s board of directors and called the company a ‘welcome addition’ to its portfolio. He adds, ‘What they are building is exciting and groundbreaking – nothing like this currently exists.’
Spencer Hyman, founder and CEO of Artfinder, says, ‘We think that the time and technologies are now there for the fine art industry to embrace the online world in the same way other sectors have done, and to have backing to do this both from leaders in the art industry and in the investment industry from both sides of the Atlantic is great.’
Hoffman had revealed he was closing an investment in the UK last November but refused to disclose further details. The investment marks his return to the European start-up market following his departure in May 2007, when he sold online music service Last.fm for $280 million (£140 million).