Do what you love and love what you do – an interview with Art Start up Vastari

Inspiring video interview of the startup Vastari at Microsoft Ventures Space in London.

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Vastari connects collectors to museums for exhibition loans.

This is an excellent example of how to create a marketplace that helps promote art and ensures more people in more places can enjoy the artworks.

  • Art owners , museums and galleries can rely on Vastari to ensure their privacy is respected and the databases are extremely secure.
  • Vastari opens up more opportunities for art lovers around the world to come face-to-face with great artworks they would otherwise never see.

Startup Weekend London Partners With FI-WARE – Smarter Cities.

This article is written by Zoheb Iqbal

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 9.12.30 AM 

By 2030 it is predicted that, 6 out of every 10 people will live in a city, and by 2050, the number will increase to 7 out of 10 people according to Global Health Observatory (GHO) reports. As we attempt to accommodate to the changing needs of citizens within cities the solutions that are being produced in turn becoming smarter. From Sharing economy apps like Airbnb, to crowd sourced urban planning applications, like Brickstarter. Swift Mobile payment systems and Smarter home technologies like Nest, to overall improvements in the way we connect across cities through systems like Google Fiber.

Our cities face a number of major challenges as they grow and technology is playing a major role in attempting to alleviate some of those issues. Technologies to not only create a better connected city but ones that provide richer experiences to users of those cities.

The ‘Smart Cities’ movement represents an emerging vision for this new cities paradigm shift and the emerging environmental, sustainable and social issues that emerge from it.

From Google’s self driving car project to IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative  major companies are continuing to encourage innovation that is now actively addressing the potential of smart cities and the innovative potentials of citizens. A bottom up innovation practices driven by collaboration and innovation is providing a new platform for innovative technologies.

Big data is being used proactively in cities all around the world, collecting and analysing that extensive data generated every second of every day, helping cities to become more optimised and efficient in their operations. One such initiative is a new open source developer platform for Future Internet applications called FI-WARE by the European Commissions intended to unleash the potential of cutting-edge internet technologies crucial to the future of areas such as Smart Cities. A public and royalty-free architecture; FI-WARE open specifications which will allow developers, service providers, enterprises and other organisations to foster innovation and entrepreneurship transforming cities for the better.

At Start Up weekend we believe Smart Entrepreneurs produce Smart Cities. With this collaboration Startup Weekend’s community will have FI-WARE at their fingertips providing a huge opportunity for European startups and entrepreneurs to leverage the power of big data and begin building innovative products to make cities smarter.

Have an idea that will improve cities for the better? Passionate about producing products that aim to make our cities smarter join us for our set of upcoming events leading up to the weekend focussed on making our cities better for living. We’ll be joined by London’s best architects, technologist, urban planners, sustainability experts, government planners, evangelists, researchers, developers and designers to co-create new prototypes to learn, play, share ideas, network, and get inspired throughout the weekend.

And read more here ‘London Startup Weekend Smart Cities’ about the upcoming startup weekend which runs from 27-29th June 2014 and purchase your ticket here ‘Order Startup Weekend Smart Cities’ to pitch and collaborate on some of the most inspiring smart cities ideas and entrepreneurs. Follow us @startuplondon to keep up to date with exciting announcements for the weekend.


SW London is an official partner of our current project with the European Commission called FI-WARE. Their event promotes new cutting-edge technology ideas and prototypes. Just what FI-WARE aims to unleash – FI-WARE is an innovative, open cloud-based infrastructure for cost-effective creation and delivery of Future Internet applications and services, at a scale like no other. Driven by the development of an open source reference implementation and accelerating the availability of commercial products and services based, FI-WARE API specifications are public and freeWe’re really excited for our community to use their expertise and experience to help test and validate the EC’s FI-WARE developer platform.

A Peak Inside: SW London Fashion Edition

This article is written by Jonas Altman, Founder of Social Fabric and Director of Front Row.

We’ve had a bit of time since last month’s Startup Weekend Fashion Edition to catch our breath, ponder and percolate. For the short attention spanned (aren’t we all) here are the quick stats:

  • 176 attendees to the day warm up and weekend events
  • 88 entrepreneurs
  • 77 pizzas scarfed
  • 52 ideas pitched
  • 12 teams formed
  • 3 great prizes from our sponsors (Lyst, General Assembly, and Front Row)
  • 2 first place teams
  • 1 runner up


Photos pulled from #SWFASHION via Twitter

The atmosphere on the Friday night for this edition, according to our veteran Facilitator was “mature and relaxed”.  In short, people meant business.  A great play-by-play showing the energy of the weekend, and a tale of friendly competition from one team that went on to win (the clothes swapping App – Swappi) can be read here.

Reflecting back now over that high-octane weekend in December here’s what stuck out in my mind:

Styles of Working

Spending a good deal of my time with a GoPro camera in hand, I noticed that one team found that standing around their table (oblivious to the fact that they were about to miss the scrumptious lunch being served) really helped increase productivity – perhaps it was all the blood pulsating down their bodies. Many teams were big fans of Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas getting stuck into it early, and working through various versions.  Yet others retreated from Campus all together, assembling elsewhere for their sessions (either spent thinking, doing, or most likely sipping superior coffee).  For me however, a real testament to the dominance of Superteams, was that the most output, and associated success, came from those teams that broke out into smaller sub teams (between 3 and 5 folks) – enabling them to effectively:


Photo courtesy of Startupvitamins

Power of Coaches

We had a stellar line-up of coaches spanning business, technology, and fashion.  It was next to impossible to A) take a prêt coffee order for the coaches; and b) deliver said coffee to them – simply because both the coaches and teams were so immersed in all of the action.  The energy in the room on the first Saturday coaching sessions was nothing short of structured pandemonium.

After the first coaching sessions it was great to see such flexibility, as some of the coaches were so provocative, that 2 completely new teams formed.   There were now 12 teams in total, and thus more competition on the block.  The remainder of Saturday and into Sunday was chock-full of customer development, business modelling, serious coaching, user testing, and some healthy grub provided by Savage Salads and Cookisto.  Oh ya, and some pretty dodgy coffee to boot.


Several team members approached me at various points during the weekend overflowing with anxiety.  No, this was not the brand of anxiety that can be interchanged with the excitement one might feel towards the final pitches, or Ben and Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough – it was over intellectual property.  Said entrepreneurs were convinced their Startup was going to go public by that Sunday evening and were worried over who would own what.  Thankfully myself and the other organisers were able to calm these eager beavers down explaining the 7-year history and spirit of SW weekend, and in particular that after their presentations if they still felt the same way (which they wouldn’t and of course didn’t) they could come visit us for another chat. ‘Nuff said.

Dedication (Italian Style)

It is implied that spending 54 hours at a Startup Weekend requires dedication as opposed to that reserved for some serious afternoon napping or binge watching of your favourite TV show. It’s also not uncommon for many teams to pull all-nighters as was certainly the case that weekend. One diehard Startup Weekender went above and beyond the call of duty. Federico Vitiello is his name. On the Friday night, we knew he was having major trouble getting on a flight from Venice with the storm at bay, but on the Saturday we received the beginning of what would be one hell of a saga:

“The situation here is going from bad to worse”

You’d have to be there to believe it. When others who might find themselves stranded at various remote Italian airports for well over 24 hours, could be forgiven for re-examining the purpose of life, Federico turned it into his personal Startup Disneyland. Befriending Startup folks from China, video taping his pitch for us, making a satire of Ryanair, meditating in toilets, sipping champagne, and always smiling – is Federico’s style. You can view his video pitch complete with a crazy magic t-shirt trick and read more of his malarkey here and here. Now that is dedication. Big shout out to Federico!

Twit Pitches

After 50 or so hours, we finally got down to the final pitches to our stellar line up of judges who had a tough time selecting the winners from some seriously compelling presentations. Again for those short attention spanned (and if you’ve read this far – well done!) here are the Twit Pitches.

In 2nd place: 


Photo courtesy of Aram Ostadian-Binai

WARDO #Pandora for Men’s Fashion. Personalised style recommendations sourced from a learning algorithm.

And the judges called it a TIE with the following Startups taking 1st place:


Photo courtesy of Aram Ostadian-Binai

FASHION BRIEF #Fashion project-planning software focused on shoots and shows


Photo courtesy of Aram Ostadian-Binai

SWAPPI #Super simple group fashion swaps, impress your friends with unique fashion items

And so on that note, it’s a wrap.  Keep your eyes out for these trailblazing Startups.  A special thanks goes to Google Campus for hosting the weekend, to all of the coaches, judges, volunteers, and the UP global team for their hard work and dedication, and of course to all of the entrepreneurs for making the magic happen.

Editor’s Note*

Jonas Altman is founder of marketing agency Social Fabric (@sfagency), and together with Amalia Agathou (@amalucky) runs the accelerator Front Row I/O.