Culture investment app Otis to open physical location in East Village

Photos by: WWD

Streetwear, luxury fashion, art and collectibles have converged at several points over the years, but with investment app Otis, these categories now live together.

Founded by Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Otis is a platform for users to buy and sell shares of artworks and fashion pieces such as sneakers, handbags and watches. Karnjanaprakorn, who also founded global talent network Skillshare, launched Otis in an attempt to democratize asset ownership and make investing more accessible.

“There are huge cultural shifts that are happening,” Karnjanaprakorn said. “Our generation’s asset class is really set around culture. An older generation buying a lodge or having artwork in their house was a very private experience, but in our generation, it’s more public consumption.”

The first piece of artwork made available on the app was by Kehinde Wiley, who did Barack Obama’s presidential portrait. Six-hundred people participated in the sale, and the largest share purchase order was $25,000 for 10,000 shares.

Otis is launching eight new works this year, which will be on display at its new East Village gallery at 47 E. 3rd St. that opens on Oct. 26 and 27. The space, which is designed by Komal Kehar of Mira Projects, retains traditional art gallery elements such as white walls, concrete floors and blocks to display expensive pieces in glass cases, but the entrance resembles a luxury apartment living room.

“We’re not really a museum or gallery or pop-up space,” Karnjanaprakorn said. “We’re a combination of all of those things. We want to be the opposite of what you expect of an art gallery.”

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