Driven entrepreneurs with a great idea can have the power to change the world. In this series from MG+, we interview founders and CEOs with great ideas that are making a difference by launching innovative products and services which are changing the landscape of business, finance, content creation, fine art, and more.
Grace Cho is the Founder and CEO of Orangenius, an online platform and collaborative community for creatives to show and share their work. She brings 20+ years as a global executive in financial services, media, private equity, new products, and multimedia innovations, B2C, B2B, Fortune 500 and startups.
Prior to launching Orangenius, Grace was COO/EVP Global Development for Nielsen; Managing Director, Strategy and Marketing for GE Capital and SVP strategic Marketing for GE Commercial Finance. An artist herself, Grace developed the concept for Orangenius out of her own frustration trying to navigate the complexities of the art world and its lack of connectivity, outdated technology, lack of integration and high cost of exhibiting and showcasing her work.
Orangenius is a platform for visual artists to set up online profiles, showcase themselves and their work. Its for both fine artists and commercial artists, so there are functions and features that cater to their goals such as selling the work or looking for jobs and opportunities. We also provide professional development information in the form of tutorials, live consultations, articles, webinars and podcasts through our magazines Artrepreneur and Art Law Journal. Most recently we launched an app and Virtual Art Fair using ART360 where we film exhibits and fairs in VR.
Artists and art enthusiasts can just go to orangenius.com and join for free, or sign up for Pro to get more advanced features.
I first had the thought when I sold my first painting a few years ago. I thought I could quit and become an artist! Alas, I discovered that it is very very hard. So I asked many other visual artists as well as organizations and schools about the challenges. I came to the conclusion that the creative economy needed a destination site where critical business functions are integrated. After hundreds of interviews, I formed a thesis to build it.
We are very proud of the many firsts. We are first company of our kind to be a partner of Pratt, Creative Circle, and other major organizations and companies. We are first platform to enable artists to put together three-dimensional visual resumes, connecting images to creative highlights. And most of all, I love the feedback we get from artists as to why they joined. If I may be so bold, we are the first platform to help emerging artists find the courage to pursue their original creative passion in a logical, structured way. Our mission to help creatives succeed in the business of art of design through concrete tools and resources really resonates.
As soon as I get up, as the coffee is percolating, I read about 15 journals and scan the headlines. It is so important to keep up with not only the news of your own industry and competition, but also geo-political events, latest trends in technology, financial markets. One never knows where an idea could be lurking.
The one thing we really wanted to do was to enable the usage of an image. Meaning, we wanted the artist/creative to allow the usage of the image of the work to any of the contributors to the work. For example, the lighting person may want to use the image of the photographic project in his/her portfolio. The photographer can give the permission to the lighting person to use it in his portfolio. We have that mechanism on the platform and it is a very unique feature. This was the work of many, many copyrights lawyers.
One of the most interesting impact of technology is democratization and/or globalization of art. No longer is it confined to a geographical area, group of people, or economic strata. Technology promotes transparency, access, and reach. We are excited about the learning programs that we will be able to provide to all types of enthusiasts. Career opportunities in the expanding creative economy can grow and thrive because everyone’s purview is much wider.
My advice would be to take the time to hire the right people around you. Aside from the technical skills, the team members have to share the same values. Otherwise, this lack of character fit can affect all aspects of operations and of course morale. On the flip side, when there’s trust, integrity, and compassion, everything works better.