Are you excited about your home decoration? Then let’s get ready to decorate our homes with a new Texas-based online art retail site, Twyla, which was launched officially on Thursday. It received funding from an Austin-based venture, and its business model allows art lovers to explore limited-edition artwork by leading contemporary artists.
In June, Brian Sharples, who founded the 10-year-old vacation rental marketplace HomeAway, which was acquired in 2015 for $3.9 billion by Expedia, took the controls of the new company. This was after one of his co-founders in Twyla, former CEO Matt Randall, stepped away from the role.
Twyla intends to take all the difficulty out the art acquisition process, simplifying it for customers. Twyla has also taken the opportunity to sell exclusive prints for artists, and for low costs. It may seem like nothing new at first glance, but the timing seems right.
Brian Sharples recently posted a Twyla ad on social media that Paddy Johnson at Art F City immediately called “the most offensive art ad on the Internet.” The ad, which showed a woman taking off her shirt and reads: Recently single. Buy art.
Meanwhile, according to Austin Business Journal, Twyla’s CEO Matt Randall is reportedly being sued for fraud and diverting money to fund his own startup by the founders of the Pop Austin International Art Show. He has been accused of: “defrauding Pop Austin’s married co-founders, Steve and Lana Carlson, and using capital from Pop Austin to fund his own art company, which isn’t specifically named in the July 2015 filing in Travis County District Court. They allege that Randall was enlisted by the Carlsons as Pop Austin’s business manager based on false promises.”
The Carlsons didn’t respond to our requests for more information this week, but Randall tells us the lawsuit, “has been settled, and sadly, I am not at liberty to comment about it.”
Randall added, “It was an honor to serve as CEO of Twyla. I am really proud of what we as a team accomplished during my tenure. I have moved on to start a new company which I am very excited about.”
“There’s a huge gap in the art buying market between posters and Picassos,” said David Krane, CEO of GV and Twyla board member in a news release. “Twyla fills that void, finally speaking to a new generation of buyers who want to invest in art they love at a price they can afford.”