Entrepreneur: Aditya Mehta
Business Name: Art&Found
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 72
Art blends creativity with powerful imagery. A good piece of art reflects the profound talent of the artist. Aditya Mehta, an admirer of good art and former employee at Ogilvy, launched Art&Found with one objective – to add value to the works of incredibly talented local artists. He believes the industry can grow only if we encourage homegrown talents.
He feels that the effort that has gone into the creation of artwork is not properly appreciated. Art&Found is a platform that brings value to artworks. It helps artists sell their work. It’s a go-to place for art collectors and art lovers. You can easily browse through a range of artworks including photography.
The biggies such as WeWork, Levi’s and Kohler are in the list of Aditya’s extensive clientele. He talks about his entrepreneurial journey, his take on art and discusses the ways to promote good artworks today.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
I started Art&Found as a side project while working full-time at Ogilvy. In advertising, I’ve worked closely with many illustrators, designers, photographers and other artists. The creative industry has always been undervalued so I wanted to build a platform to help monetize their art and make it available for a new generation of art lovers.
We have incredible homegrown talent and that is one thing really inspires me. If we can empower every artist, then we can collectively improve this industry and help achieve the value it deserves. If we want to increase the value of art, let’s start at home.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
It’s a good time for art, an industry that has otherwise been unappreciated and undervalued. We’re seeing this change. We’re seeing this progress happen every day, very fast. Initiatives like local art projects and even flea markets are constantly exposing art to a wider audience. What this is doing is building intrinsic value gradually converting into monetary value. Art will receive the value it deserves. And I think we’ll be there very soon, if not already. Success is the measure of positive impact one can make on others. I think if each of us can make a small impact in our own way, the outcome can be immensely positive for future generations.
Art is a form of expression of the social and cultural landscapes of our times. In our own way, we at Art&Found are preserving the art of our times and plan to do so for a long time. Every time someone buys an artwork, an artist gets rewarded fairly and the owner builds his or her own little art collection. I think we can each make a difference in growing and sustaining the value of creativity.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
Very positive and supportive. Coming from a Gujarati family, entrepreneurship seemed to the natural transition.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
I don’t think I can point out a single biggest mistake. It’s important to have many small mistakes and learn from them. Mistakes will help you evolve as a person and in your business. In order to become the best version of yourself, you should be making a lot of mistakes.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Art&Found has built a massive resource of the top young emerging artists in our country and their incredible work. Today, global brands are approaching us to help them curate their art/design led campaigns and events. We need to figure out a way to scale this business model while still maintaining a lean system.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Waking up early, having a morning fitness routine, working productively and fast, having a daily list of tasks, reading.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I would’ve started earlier.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
The journey is the reward.
9) Where do you find inspiration?
Reading books, watching films, traveling and while drinking beer.
10) What is your favourite book?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Be ready to pivot. Business plans, valuations and exits are big terms that shouldn’t intimidate you. What matters is focusing on getting the work done. And getting it done fast. Hustle hard but be humble.
Be shameless in pitching and marketing your idea to anyone. Don’t fall in love with your idea. Be self-aware, take a step back and look at it from a different perspective. It’s a labour of love. Enjoy the grind.
Aditya launched Art&Found to address the concern over devaluation of homegrown artworks. It takes great courage and passion to monetize an undervalued niche like art in India. Through his brainchild, Aditya brings a positive change in the way people perceive art today.
As an entrepreneur, he learnt from his mistakes and moved ahead. So as he rightly points out, mistakes are great source of learning for starters as they help you evolve. He also drops a great takeaway for aspiring entrepreneurs- To look at your idea from different angles before moving forward.
Thank you Aditya for finding time for this fruitful conversation.
You can check out Art&Found on Instagram here.