For many startups, getting a spot in an accelerator program like Y Combinator or TechStars is like winning the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Accelerators offer many opportunities that can make the difference between a great idea that doesn’t reach its potential and one that leads to an IPO.
We’re used to seeing accelerators working for disruptive companies in travel, payment processing or cloud storage, but what if that model could work outside the confines of the VC mill? What if a small investment, a sprinkling of mentoring and practical support, a slew of introductions, and a lot of faith could be used to help artists in their careers?
That’s it Inversion Art trying to do.
“Y Combinator changed my life,” Joey Flores, co-founder of Inversion Art, told TechCrunch. “I feel a lot of gratitude for the program, and I think that if I can do something like that for artists, it’s amazing.”
Flores is a Y Combinator alumnus whose music marketing platform EarBits graduated from the program in 2010 and sold in 2015. While Flores is not a professional artist, art is a very important part of his life, and one time a VC commented in a 2020 conversation set him on the path to find a way to support artists who have the drive and passion to make art their lifelong career but need help to achieve it. As part of his research, he teamed up with his co-founder Jonathan Neil, and together they sought to change the way artists find success and recognition.
“Artists often rely on other parties such as collectors, museums and galleries to develop their careers and define success for them,” says Neil. “We are, in our opinion, the first organization that sits on the same side of the table as the artist in all their negotiations and activities and really helps them define success for themselves.”