Sotheby’s enhances data capabilities with its recent company acquisition.

The world auction giant adds talent in software development, machine learning, blockchain, and data and analytics.

From left: Andrew Shum, Richard Vibert, Ahmad Qamar. Image courtesy Sotheby's.

From left: Andrew Shum, Richard Vibert, Ahmad Qamar. Image courtesy Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s recently announced its acquisition of Thread Genius, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) company specialising in taste-based image recognition and recommendation technologies, adding to its data capabilities, including software development, machine learning, blockchain, data and analytics. The acquisition of Thread Genius is a continuation of Sotheby’s focus on data and technology to drive innovation and improve both internal processes and client service and experience.

This move follows Sotheby’s 2016 acquisition of the Mei Moses Art Indices, now known as Sotheby’s Mei Moses, a database of nearly 50,000 repeat auction sales in eight collecting categories. Sotheby’s is also developing an object database based on the Mei Moses. These efforts will allow Sotheby’s to increase its abilities to connect buyers and sellers, and the volume of opportunities for collectors at all price points. Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO, is quoted in the press release as saying about this new collaboration:

Historically, transactions would come together by matching an object with an individual’s preference at a certain price point, and Sotheby’s retains data in those three areas. By using advanced technology, we can deliver better insights and match those three elements faster, providing our staff with better tools, our clients with a better experience, and our consignors with even better results. We are committed to attracting and retaining talent in all aspects of what we do and are thrilled to welcome Richard, Ahmad and Andrew to Sotheby’s.

CLick here to watch a short presentation of Thread Genius on Vimeo

Thread Genius was founded in 2015 by Andrew Shum and Ahmad Qamar, two software and machine learning engineers who will be joining Sotheby’s this week, working alongside Richard Vibert, a data scientist recently appointed Head of Data & Analytics Strategy, and reporting to Jennifer Deason, Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy & Corporate Development for Sotheby’s. Deason comments:

The acquisition of Thread Genius and the addition of Richard, Ahmad and Andrew to the Sotheby’s team advance a number of initiatives related to the strategic capture and use of data to improve internal processes and provide a wider range of services to clients. We have united all of our data-related activities under one umbrella, which will accelerate innovation and provide benefits to both our internal team and our clients.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia


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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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