Hold Onto Your Hats, There’s a New Round of Layoffs at Paddle8

It includes the company's head of postwar and contemporary art.

Paddle8's offices in New York during happier times. Photo courtesy Auctionata | Paddle8.

Welcome to the new normal at Paddle8.

Following news of an anonymous new investor in a January announcement, artnet News has learned that 25 employees at the online auction house have been let go, including Anna Hygelund, head of postwar and contemporary art.

It’s just the latest round of layoffs to take place at the company, which launched in 2011.

The anonymous investment allowed the company to back out of a May 2016 merger with Auctionata, which inside sources described as an acquisition by the larger, German firm. The combined company named Thomas Hesse its new CEO in September; two months later, Auctionata co-founder and former CEO Alexander Zacke left the company. In January 2017, Auctionata filed for insolvency, accompanied by the announcement of Paddle8’s buyback.

Paddle8 was founded by the Phillips veteran Alexander Gilkes, startup maestro Aditya Julka, and merger and acquisition specialist Osman Khan. In three rounds of fundraising in its early days, Paddle8 raised $44 million from 13 investors, including boldface names like British artist Damien Hirst, London dealer Jay Jopling, Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos, and New York/London dealer David Zwirner.

The consolidation of the two companies followed close on the heels of the demise of another online auctioneer, ArtList, which folded in July 2016 after two years. (artnet has operated its own online auction business since 2008.)

“There has been a new round of layoffs as part of the streamlining process taking place since we separated from Auctionata,” a press representative for Paddle8 said in a phone interview. “We will reveal more details about the deal soon.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Leslie Edwards, director of client development and client services, was let go. According to a press representative at the company, she left prior to the layoffs.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.