Justin Bieber’s Manager Scooter Braun Is Investing in an Art Startup That Targets Millennial Collectors
Online art startup Ikonick aims to sell affordable, easily consumable artworks to young collectors.
The Braun behind the Biebs is getting into the art biz.
Scooter Braun, manager for popstar and committed Joe Dirt impersonator Justin Bieber, is teaming up with digital media entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk to invest in online art company Ikonick, which targets millennial collectors with artworks in the $40 to $700 range, according to Billboard. The value of their respective equity stakes was not disclosed.
Ikonick offers artworks online with the aim of maximizing crossover appeal. The works for sale often feature contemporary interpretations of well-known artworks or stylized motivational slogans such as “Hustle,” “Always Be Learning,” or “Tunnel Vision.” Or as co-founder Mark Mastrandrea put it in a statement, “Our artwork is fundamentally designed to evoke feelings. We marry aesthetically pleasing graphics with prescriptive thought.”
After 15 months in business, Mastrandrea and co-founder Jeff Cole are already posting impressive numbers, recording nearly $10 million in revenue, thanks to exclusive licensing deals with the NBA and Muhammad Ali’s estate.
According to Billboard, Braun and Vaynerchuck have targeted Ikonick’s licensing business as the area with the most growth potential, and they’ve set their sights on more deals with major brands such as Nike, Jordan Brand, Disney, and Marvel. The duo reportedly aims to integrate signature pieces by big brands into the art company’s online shop by this fall.
“Two things I’m passionate about in business [is] talent and cultural relevance,” Vaynerchuck told the music magazine. “Ikonick has both of those things. This business fits into a sphere I haven’t played in, arts or creative output.” The investor went on to reveal that plans are in place to introduce the startup into the brick-and-mortar retail space in the next 24 months.
“Jeff and I believe that teaming up with Scooter and Gary will assist in raising our business to the next level,” Mastrandrea said. “We have always really admired Scooter and Gary from both a business and personal perspective. As these men have hustled relentlessly for their current success, they truly embody the spirit of Ikonick, and we look forward to working closely with them.”
Braun is not the first who-lebrity to wade into the art market. In May, Arrested Development star Portia de Rossi launched her own art startup called General Public, which makes 3-D reproductions of artworks using a special process invented by the actress and Fujifilm. At the time, De Rossi told artnet News that she hoped the company would give artists the ability “to sell editions of their paintings to maximize their profitability.”
No word on whether she is a belieber in Braun and Vaynerchuck’s new enterprise.
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