AlexanderGilkesPortraitArticle.jpgPhoto: William Hereford

Co-founded by Alexander Gilkes and Aditya Julka, Paddle8 is an online destination with a seemingly simple but incredibly valuable mission: to make the fine art and collectibles market more accessible and more efficient for collectors and sellers alike.

The site focuses on auctions and offers international collectors access to a selection of works from the world's leading galleries, museums, and art fairs--complemented by editorial projects that help members deepen their knowledge and discover new talent. The works in turn gain exposure to a new audience of prospective clients, who can buy and sell works with improved ease, reduced cost and aided by an advanced technological platform.

With online transactions still surprisingly rare among blue-chip galleries, Paddle8 provides a powerful suite of tools that ease the process of purchasing, shipping, insuring, and installing a new art piece.

Gilkes, a Brit by birth, cut his teeth in the luxury space as one of the youngest members of an executive team at Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, where he helped turn Krug Champagne into one of the group's star brands. More recently, he served as the youngest auctioneer and the global marketing director for acclaimed auction house Phillips de Pury.

Nearly 17 months since its launch in May 2011, Paddle8 has garnered rave reviews and attracted strategic investments from both the tech and luxury sectors. The site is backed by venture capital fund Founder Collective, which placed successful bets on Uber and Makerbot, as well as Mousse Partners, the private investment firm behind recent investments in Paperless Post and Warby Parker.

Watch Gilkes discuss the evolution of Paddle8 and the future of the online art market: