Monisha Ravi, a media professional based out of Delhi, was at her wit’s end thinking up an exciting present for her friend’s birthday. Having given up on the customary mugs and stationery, she chanced upon what seemed like an apt gift for her movie-crazy friend – an artistically recreated poster of Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in The Godfather . Needless to say, her friend was quite thrilled, thanks to Monisha’s serendipitous discovery of .

The Bengaluru-based start-up has found a resonance among the Millenials, offering them pop art on a platter in the formats of posters, postcards, canvasses and apparel. Everything from movies to music, literature, sitcoms, modern art and even political statements are the subjects of artistic rendition, by local and international artists, who specialise in illustrations, digital art, traditional paintings, photography and beyond.

Cupick is the brainchild of Shaishav Todi, an engineer, entrepreneur and “internet fanboy from the pre-Google days,” as he describes himself. With friends Justin Alva, who is Co-founder and takes care of marketing and user acquisition, and Rituraj Dowerah, Cupick’s tech guru, the start-up was founded in early 2014 when the three met on a casual evening and got talking about making art more accessible.

While Shaishav hails from a business family and had always hoped to start-up, for Justin it was the drudgery of a cubicle-bound corporate life that pushed him into the start-up world. Rituraj was experienced in developing robust and maintainable software for a number of start-ups and he was roped in to build Cupick from scratch.

Heart of the matter At the core of Cupick’s philosophy is giving up-and-coming artists a truly democratic space to showcase and sell their work. It hosts an eclectic range of artistic and not-so-artsy creations on a website with a clean interface. The minimal design helps give prominence to the artwork, says Justin, adding that there isn’t a strict curation policy given that the enterprise aims to broaden the definition of art itself.

Artists also have a say in where their work is printed. “Our primary focus was to enable artists and empower them. It is a conscious decision, therefore, to give artists complete autonomy. We provide them image protection tools to safeguard their work as well,” says Justin. An Illustrator and Graphic Designer based out of Muscat, Malvika Asher, whose work has been featured on Cupick, says, “For designers looking to be commercially successful, it is a great platform. Moreover, we get to pick our profit margins, so we charge based on the amount of work put in. I’ve always felt that Cupick is a classy Indian version of”

Accessible, affordable Cupick’s revenue model is much like its design, simple. “We set a base price for each product, which covers our costs and margins. Artists then mark up the base price by whatever percentage they’d like to earn. So, we make money on every sale,” says Justin. Prices on Cupick fall in the highly affordable category, ranging between ₹200 and ₹1,100, depending on size and medium.

So far Cupick has raised ₹10 lakh from an HNI businessman for product development and gaining traction. The founders are now in the process of raising their angel round, keen to get the right investor on board.

Interestingly, while Cupick hasn’t seen any frontrunners in terms of sales yet, customers are buying “art” in the stricter sense of the word than pop art or fan art, which are relatively easily available in the market, reveals Justin.

“This is perhaps because art is inaccessible unless you can shell out a lot of money for originals or are okay with buying mass-produced decorative art,” he says.

With new users signing up every day, Cupick has had to revamp operations at multiple levels to sustain the platform experience. It now has 800 artists, 2,000 users and 5,500 artworks, and seeing a 50 per cent increase in orders month-on-month. The start-up will soon be co-curating the art festival, Emerge 2015, to be held in Bangalore and Gurgaon. It also assisted Titan with its Valentine’s day campaign #giftoflove by choosing artists to illustrate stories sent in by Titan’s customers. “Being able to iterate rapidly while continuing to innovate is our current challenge. We aim to be one of the largest repositories of creative assets by this year-end,” Justin says.