Turn your smartphone into a museum guide with ArtGuru

Marco De Sentis is the CEO and Founder of ArtGuru, an innovative museum guide solution.


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Cristian Civera, CTO, will be available to mentor attendees at the Startup Weekend Art London, on October 3-5. Check him out on twitter.


What is ArtGuru?

ArtGuru is a new generation audio guide for museums, with image recognition and artificial intelligence. We provide added value to museums thanks to our analytics and marketing systems


Finally a solution to upgrade museum guides?

Modern audio guide systems aren’t modern at all: they simply aren’t capable of providing the users an experience even close to what we’ve used today with our devices. At the same time, from the museum point of view, they’re expensive to purchase, to maintain and keep up to date.

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Who are you selling ArtGuru to?

Although the ultimate consumers are the users & art lovers, we primary talk to museums willing to jump onto our platform.


How do you work with museums?

ArtGuru is easy & quick to set up, the image recognition allows us to work without needing any infrastructure provided by the museums. Once we sign a deal, the guide is usually ready within a week, and thanks to our online CMS, museums are for the very first time able to modify and maintain the content themselves directly.

And you know what? All the process is surprisingly easy & straightforward: if you want your ArtGuru, just go to http://artguru.me, signup and your tailored audio guide will be ready on the store in a week. Just a quick example: a museum in Milan signed up to ArtGuru on the 5th of September; they had a “Chagall & The Bible” exhibition starting on 17th September. Of course their ArtGuru was ready & running for the opening day. Visitors are using it right now, and the museum is making revenues out of it. Could you imagine doing this, so quickly, with a traditional audio guide system?


You seem to be using pretty advanced technology

Image recognition is a science still in its initial stage, so there are a few algorithms and techniques which are very well known. We kept and combined some of them in order to build a reliable system. Plus, we ported it into your phone, it runs smoothly and it doesn’t require any active internet connection.


What brought the ArtGuru’s team together?

Tech & mathematical skills, love for art and a number of connections into the art world

The founders have been friends for a long time, and have worked together in a number of projects. We choose people who share with us the passion for technology and arts.

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What are the biggest changes in the museum world?

Many museums are starting using social media not only to promote their activities, but also to integrate them and to cooperate with each other. There are many “social events” that arise each week, almost spontaneously: all they need is a hashtag, such as #askacurator or #museumweek, and you see a number of museums, belonging to different countries, interacting among each other, with artists and art lovers.


What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Don’t be afraid to fail, failing is learning, and learning is the key to succeed.


What’s ArtGuru mission?

We want to create a new kind of comprehensive experience for ArtGuru users, that would go beyond the boundaries of a specific museum and adapt to the users’ tastes. We’ve already implemented some key elements in ArtGuru, and further updates will be available in the coming weeks.

With ArtGuru we want to enhance how people interact with the art in museums, and we’re also opening a channel to let the museums reach their visitors. This, we believe, is of great interest and value to museums. A little revolution in terms of interaction between the museum and the art lovers and, at the end of the day, a brand new way to promote art.

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Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Startup Weekend Art London in October!

Rise Art helps you discover art that fits you and your home. Made possible through a love of tech and art

Rise Art Founder and CTO, Marcos Steverlynck will be available during the Startup Weekend Art London to code with you and answer your questions. You can also find him on Twitter.


Follow RiseArt on twitter and facebook.

There are many online galleries, how is Rise Art different?

Rise Art was created to help make collecting original art easy and risk free for everyone. Started by two close friends, the company is driven by a passion for art, technology and helping artists support and expand their practice.

We’re building an online platform that makes discovering new art easy and fun. All of the artwork for sale on Rise Art has been hand picked by the experts. We work with top graduate degree programs, galleries and museums to provide our members with access to an incredible array of contemporary artwork across price points.

To help you get started, we’ve designed a free art style quiz. Take the quiz, and we’ll put together a unique collection of artwork tailored to you. Follow artists and favourite works you like, and we’ll update your guide accordingly.

We also believe in great customer service and understand that art is hard to buy online. Our art rental service lets you try before you buy for a low monthly rate and flexible returns policy also means that you won’t be stuck with art you don’t absolutely love. See the work in the flesh, and if you don’t love it, return it to us, free of charge.


What made you create Rise Art?

Art is a pleasure. Choosing and buying art should be a pleasure too.

Often, it isn’t. It can be intimidating, overwhelming and risky. It can also be expensive – how do you know it’s worth it? And how can you be sure you’ll still love the piece when it’s on your wall?

We created Rise Art because we believed there was an easier way for people interested in contemporary art to access works that they loved – simply, online and without fear of being intimidated, ripped off or stuck with something they didn’t like.


What is your target market?

We serve customers trying to start or grow their art collection, or just looking for great artwork to put on their walls instead of IKEA or Habitat. We offer artwork ranging in price from a few hundred pounds up to 50,000 GBP.

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Sounds like you’ve found a mission through your love of art and tech

We are disrupting the art world status quo. The art market has seen little or no innovation in the past hundreds of years. Art galleries, dealers and auction houses operate basically the same way they did hundred of years ago, and it is very complicated for consumers to understand and get into the market. We aim to make great artwork accessible to everyone, and make the experience simple, easy, fun and accessible. We want to put the entire art catalogue of the world in customer’s hands, expertly hand-picked so customers do not have to worry about what and why they are buying a piece of art, they just need to know if they love it or if it will be a great investment.

We are believers of using technology to improve people’s lives and we are using state of the art technology (and developing our own) to help people discover and find the art they love.

We also offer innovative ways of experiencing the art, allowing users to rent the art and try it in their home before they buy. We credit part of the rental towards the purchase as well, or allow customers to return it at any time, free of charge.


As the CTO, what has been your approach to creating the Rise Art platform?

We believe in using the right tools and technology where it makes sense. We also believe in the power of technology to achieve our mission. We have developed advanced recommendation algorithms to help people discover the art they love. We also use advanced image recognition algorithms to understand the artwork and the environment around it. We have borrowed and built upon people that came before us, and we hope other people will borrow and build upon things we have done.

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Who are you working with?

We need great, enthusiastic coders. We are currently hiring front end (HTML5, CSS3, JS, Jquery) and back end (PHP/Zend, MySQL, Java, Hadoop, etc) developers.


So you are hiring and developing your team. How do you select new joiners?

To be honest, we are still trying to figure that one out. Building the right development team can be the hardest and most important piece in the success of any startup, and the job is never done. Hire great people and things will fall into place; hire sub-par people and things will fail.


What are the top trends you see happening right now in your area of expertise?

Advances in artificial intelligence, image recognition and recommendation engines can all have a great impact in how we discover and consume art online.


What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Don’t think about it too much, or plan too much ahead, just go ahead and do it. You will find out soon enough that all your plans are soon out the window, and you will need to adapt and evolve as your idea and market does. Once you have an idea, validate it, and get to work! Forget about long, useless business plans, get your hands dirty early and fast.

Iterate quickly and figure out who your customer is and what they want. And most importantly, everything takes 3 times as much time as you expected it would, so plan for it!


Have you got an idea for improving how we fund, make, share and enjoy art and culture?

We need to make great art accessible and easy to buy. There are thousands of really talented artists out there that are being left out of the market by the galleries; we need to give them a way to find their audience. Art should be easy, uncomplicated, and fun. Let’s make it so!


Our mission is to make great art accessible to anyone and help great artists get discovered. As opposed to completely open marketplaces where anyone can sell, we believe that first time art buyers need more than just a lot of choice; they need expert recommendation and guidance. Why is a piece worth what it is? Is it a good potential investment? Is it just great as decoration? When it comes to art, having a lot of choice is not enough, you need to provide the right choice and help people through the process of finding the right piece for them.

We have built technology and products to allow that, and in the process we aim to introduce more and more people to collecting real art.

Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Startup Weekend Art London in October!