Interview with Lorenzo Uggeri
Kooness.com is an online platform for people from all over the world to buy fine art. It provides virtual access to galleries all over the world, and disrupts the conventional method of buying and collecting artwork. The founder of Kooness.com, Lorenzo Uggeri, has been featured in this year's Forbes' 30 Under 30, and says his goal is to build a new generation of art collectors.
We at LAMA recently had the privilege to interview Lorenzo about how he built the network of galleries utilized by Kooness.com, how he wants to democratize the world of art collection, and about his advice for young entrepreneurs hoping to work in art distribution.
Check out our exclusive Q&A session with Lorenzo.
Could you please introduce Kooness and what led to your founding the platform?
Kooness is the marketplace for galleries, giving them the possibilities to reach a worldwide audience of collectors and none collectors, and at the same time give to collectors/none collectors the possibility to have access to a network of 400 galleries, in 52 different countries. It’s in the middle between galleries and collectors, giving to them a new selling channel, and giving collectors an easier way to find what they are looking for.
Kooness is made for collectors who want to "democratize access to the art world." Could you please elaborate on how Kooness increases the public's access to buying and collecting fine art?
Kooness wants to democratize the art world, giving us access to galleries, artists and artwork around the world to a wide range of collectors and none collectors. In fact, Kooness people can buy artwork directly from a gallery without being in a gallery, and at the same time, Kooness wants to be the tools for none collectors to start their own collection.
How did your time at Bocconi University in Milan influence your decision to found Kooness? When did you first realize you had a passion for business and art collection?
I studied at Bocconi during my Bachelor in Economics and Management of Innovations and Technology during my master of science. So I can say during my Bachelor, I was really passionate about innovation and how technology was disrupting so many industries. After graduating on the master of science I started working in another company and I realised my passion for art and innovation of disruptive technologies could be combined with Kooness, so I decided to start Kooneess.
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs hoping to work in the international world of art collection and distribution?
I think that there are no specific rules for working in the art market. It’s very complex first of all, like many other industries. I think there are common rules for working in the market. The first one is passion in what you are doing, the second is a clear vision for your future, the third is focus on what you are doing.
How did you recruit the current staff at Kooness? Were there any particular qualities you sought out in employees for your unique company and mission?
We don’t have a specific path in selecting our employees. Some of them come to our company spontaneously, others have been introduced to us by different partners. What I look for when hiring for my company is productivity, passion for the work we are doing, and passion for innovation and art.
What technical innovations do you believe are most affecting the world of art collecting and buying?
The main technical innovations that I have seen for the future online collecting, one of them is augmented reality in giving a better idea of the items that collectors are going to purchase. The second is blockchain technologies, which can provide many services to make the market safer and more transparent.
How did you initially build Kooness' networks and partnerships with museums, artists, and distributors?
We started networking by knocking on the door of galleries, partners and distributors. Focusing mainly on the quality of these galleries and art fairs, in order to grow their name, and to increase the value of our brand.
Kooness has experienced extraordinary growth since its founding in 2014. How have you managed this massive growth over such a short time period?
I don’t think there is a specific way to manage the growth of a company. I think the best way to manage the growth of the company is to create a strong a team with great competencies in the industry of which you operate in.
What is next for Kooness, as well as your own career?
Kooness now is working with different artists in the art world, especially in art galleries and art fairs. For the future, we want to, of course, increase the number of partners that we have in the industry. Also to extend the number of services we want to provide to these artists. Concerning me and my career, I see my future in Kooness, my career growing with Kooness.