A public sector fund specialising in the creative industries has invested in a local art supplier which aims to brings original prints and paintings to the high street.
The Creative Advantage Fund (CAF), which is backed by Birmingham City Council, has invested £150,000 in art supplier Artbrand Publishing.
Artbrand supplies high street retailers with tailored portfolios of prints, paintings and other art works and is growing rapidly.
It has a library of original works numbering around 14,000 and works with retailers to design and supply packages of art works for sale in high street stores.
Artbrand managing director Veejay Lingiah said the firm offered a unique service to retailers.
“There is a substantial demand for quality art for the home and many British and foreign artists eager to supply it,” he said.
“However, until now there was no expert intermediary to bridge the commercial gap between artist and retailer.
“Sourcing works from our network of artists, we develop attractive art ranges for time-poor buyers to meet the particular needs of each retailer.
“With CAF’s investment we can boost our sales operation to achieve swifter growth.”
The Creative Advantage Fund was formed in 2000 by West Midlands Arts and Birmingham City Council to invest in SMEs in the creative industries.
Its portfolio has included companies in television, film, software, theatre, toy design and jewellery, and the fund makes investments of between £75,000 and £150,000.
The fund’s chairman Thomas Dillon said: “We are delighted to be able to support Artbrand’s continued growth in Birmingham.
“This is very much the marriage of commerce and artistic creativity that CAF exists to promote.”
Artbrand Publishing was advised by Paul Heaven of Blue Sky Corporate Finance.
Creative Advantage Fund investment consultant Keith Taylor has been appointed as a non-executive director of the company.
Previous recipients of investment from the fund include CivicoLive, a company aiming to make the public sector more transparent, which received a £150,000 funding injection.
The firm offers an innovative web streaming service aimed at councils and public-facing bodies, allowing them to integrate video feeds from live meetings and events to social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
Trainer customising firm Sole Creator is also in the fund’s portfolio.
The company was set up by Adam Duffy, who had been customising trainers for years before he decided to launch website which allows consumers to create their own personalised pair of shoes.
The Creative Advantage Fund is overseen by a board of directors from the worlds of the arts, finance and public policy. Directors include Helga Henry, general manager of Fierce and Dr David Hardman, managing director of Birmingham Science Park Aston.