Kaleido AR platform helps artists sell artwork globally

By Iris Gonzalez
Ian Panchèvre founded Kaleido, an app for selling artwork.

A serial entrepreneur turned art collector has built the first interactive media platform for the visual arts. Kaleido is an augmented reality (AR) marketplace for artists interested in listing their artwork for sale.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform allows collectors to easily and securely buy art directly from artists. Most of Kaleido’s artwork can be viewed through its mobile application (iPhone and Android), which renders content as virtual augmentations on screen. Users can then read information about the artist, the art piece, and the artwork’s provenance. Kaleido also uses artificial intelligence to allow artists to upload audio stories that can be accessed on the web and in AR.

San Antonio native and founder Ian Panchèvre was inspired to start art collecting in 2017 while visiting Barcelona, Spain. By 2021, Panchèvre became interested in “the fresh exploration of the art world” and began developing the Kaleido platform, which has been in beta over the past two years.

“In 2021, we saw NFTs [non-fungible tokens] erupt, signaling that the art world is much more serious in adopting advanced technologies,” Panchèvre said. “My mind was fired up about the possibility of leveraging frontier technologies like AR to showcase art pieces, especially after talking to artists who expressed interest in augmented reality animations of their art.”

Panchèvre launched the Kaleido Arthouse, a pop-up art gallery at 1407 S. St Mary’s St. that is open to the public from October 13 to October 22. The Kaleido Arthouse will showcase a mix of local and international artists spanning the genres of portrait and figurative, abstract and expressionist, and pop and urban art that can be viewed on the Kaleido app.

“Kaleido is local, but our reach is global,” said Panchèvre. “The Kaleido Arthouse will be a wonderful space to celebrate some of our leading local artists while also showcasing exciting international artists who are new to this market.” 

Mary Heathcott, the Executive Director of the Contemporary at Blue Star, invited Kaleido to collaborate on the upcoming Red Dot Art Show, which runs from October 4 to January 7, 2024. Red Dot artworks can be found by visiting its event page on Kaleido.

“Innovation is one of our core pillars, and Kaleido will help elevate Red Dot with its immersive augmented reality offering,” Heathcott said about the startup’s AR platform.

In May, Kaleido won a Webby Award as an application in the Art, Culture, and Events category. The startup was also chosen as a finalist for the Tech Fuel pitch competition on October 17, to be held at Port San Antonio.

Since its launch in October, over 21,000 artists from 150 countries have joined Kaleido’s beta program and listed over 95,000 artworks for sale. While the platform is free for artists and art enthusiasts, the company takes a 25% commission for each art piece that sells on Kaleido, Panchèvre said.

Kaleido employs a team of 20 people working remotely, with Panchèvre running the startup from San Antonio. His next steps are to finish fundraising a $900,000 seed round. With $400,00 already committed, he is almost halfway to his funding goal.

“We just rolled out the first version of our e-commerce experience so buyers can purchase artwork on Kaileido seamlessly in an automated way,” Panchèvre said. “We sold $45,000 of art in our first month.”

Since 2011, Panchèvre has launched a smartphone application that powered loyalty programs and mobile couponing for small businesses, an education technology startup that builds software for competitive speech and debate teams, and a startup studio that provides professional software and design services for startups.

Now that the founder has his Kaleido pop-up and his first Contemporary at Blue Star collaboration up and running, Panchèvre is practicing his Kaleido pitch for the Tech Fuel competition on Tuesday.

“Visual art does not have a true home on the internet,” Panchèvre said. “We’re looking to transform the way art is shared and experienced.”

The featured image is of the Kaleido art pop-up entrance; photo credit Startups San Antonio.

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