Nov 17

InSITE Team Project Update: UpriseArt

Last Saturday, a team of InSITE Fellows trekked to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to attend “Small Truths: A Studio Visit with Langdon Graves.” The event, which attracted art enthusiasts from around New York, was hosted by Uprise Art, one of six companies participating in InSITE’s Fall 2012 Company Mentoring Program.

Uprise Art is a curated online gallery that connects collectors with one-of-a-kind pieces and streamlines the process of purchasing artwork. The company, which is based in Manhattan, has an invest-to-own model, allowing collectors to receive a piece of art up front, then invest a monthly fee toward the price of the piece. Since launching the site in June 2011, founder Tze Chun has found that the model resonates with experienced collectors and first-time buyers alike, both for personal homes and professional workspaces.

This semester, a team of InSITE Fellows including Michael Lekas, Dontae Rayford, Sam Slover and Julie Klein are working with Chun to define a growth and funding strategy for Uprise. In early October, she won the Start Small, Go Big contest sponsored by DailyCandy, which proclaimed Uprise “a genius new site that aims to make art collectors out of everyone.” More recently, profiles of Chun and Uprise have appeared in both Huffington Post and Business Insider.

After several weeks of working together, the InSITE team had a chance to see Uprise in action at the studio visit last weekend. They heard Graves, a current Uprise artist, talk about her work, and they spoke to current and prospective Uprise collectors as they sipped mimosas and toured the studio. The team is looking forward to working with Chun as she continues to refine her pitch for InSITE’s Fall Pitch Event later this month.

This post was written by Julie Klein, Columbia MBA Class of 2014

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