Damien Hirst's Paddle8 auction house to achieve $31.3m in 2013?

Damien Hirst is among a group of investors that have pledged a combined £3.8m ($5.9m) to the online art auction house Paddle8.

Damien Hirst is known as one of the shrewdest businessmen in the art world

The headline-grabbing artist is joined by White Cube gallery owner Jay Jopling, chief investment officer of Ranger Global Advisors, Alexander von Furstenberg, and the Mellon family.

The New York-based online auction house is now planning to open offices in London and LA. After seeing £6.4m ($10m) in online bids in 2012, it is now hoping to achieve £20m ($31.3m) in 2013.

As the company continues to grow, it hopes to compete with the major art auction houses such as Christie's and Sotheby's by offering lower fees.

"I'm excited by how the internet can improve people's access to art, and Paddle8 has found a winning formula," commented Damien Hirst.

"They deliver a truly brilliant and stylish auction platform that is simple and accessible to all, and I'm delighted to be part of it."

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