Culture is future » Innovation and digital

09.16.2016

CULTURAL START-UP OF THE WEEK : izi.TRAVEL

This week, the Forum d’Avignon continues with its e-series on cultural entrepreneurship and presents the start-up izi.TRAVEL, an app that proposes geolocalized and open source audio guides contents to tourists, for both museums and amateurs.

It is the number 1 platform for touristic storytelling and augmented pictures with images, video and audio contents, available on tablets and smartphones. 

What is your project?

Today museums are confronted with what could be called ‘the perfect storm’. They face different kinds of pressure like falling revenue, changing audiences and an invasion of mobile technologies. Visitors have high expectations. They like to have an engaging experience in their own language and  prefer to have a differs offer of tours). On top, cultural institutions, have found themselves confronted by a powerful competition in the form of crowdsourcing on open platforms such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, etc.

To find a solution for these challenges, , izi.TRAVEL was born. izi.TRAVEL is the #1 global, open and free storytelling platform to create, listen and share experiences about places and cultures via multimedia guides on your smartphone. A team of Dutch innovators joined forces with a Swiss investor in 2011 with the aim of connecting cities, museums and their stories with travellers who want to explore the world in a brand new innovative way: via a global, open and free platform, based on an intuitive CMS. Available for free on the web and on a mobile and geolocalisable app, travellers discover the world through cultural audio guided visits (museums, exhibitions, castles) and outdoor tours (city tours, bike tours). For the convenience of the users: theyhave to download one single app in order to explore destinations and museums: izi.TRAVEL app 

The guides come directly from tourist and cultural institutions, heritage associations, city authorities, as well as passionate experts who want to share their knowledge and inspiration.  izi.TRAVEL collaborates stories in tourism and culture which and presents it as the sum of many interesting sites.

With more than 2 million users, izi.TRAVEL has become the most popular multimedia guide app in the world. . 

 

What is your current challenge?

Internally, we need to think of a economic strategy in the long term. Even though we provide a free solution for all, we are not quite phil

anthropists in the essence of the word. We have very serious ambitions to build a sustainable business and repeat the success of YouTube in the cultural world.

This is the message which needs to be understaoo by the museums. We are witnessing an emerging trend. Museums are starting to unders

tand that it is better to invest in content, not in technology. We help musuems attract, initiate and entertain their audience without any cost. Museums, institutions or cities need to find a new approach to sponsors; they need to join forces in order to get funds.

In December 2015, izi.TRAVEL, along with several museums and other organizations, has raised a €1M EU grant from the EuroStars program. The point is that consortiums raise funds more easily, rather than separate museums.

We are thinking of this kind of initiative and support synergy between stakeholders of a same area, we call that a smart region. But we have to find 

a business model to keep on helping out institutions while being profitable. 

 

For you, what does it mean to be a cultural entrepreneur ? 

We believe that discovering other countries in a convenient way in their own language will help people understanding other cultures and will eventually reduce tensions in the society. It is quite that idealism that brings us to create a sharing tool, but it is also a technical challenge.

The best of technology is constantly renewed, only contents remain. If all museums developped their own app, it would be as if every telecommunication company built its own TV to watch its own channel. As cultural innovator, we would like both to help institutions in need for technological updates, and to give access to users to great contents.We are above all else mediator of the culture... and a team of 70 persons, including 25 very experienced software developpers. 

 

Retrouvez izi.TRAVEL à Culture au quai les 23, 24 et 25 septembre 2016 et au SITEM les 10, 11 et 12 janvier 2017

Follow izi.TRAVEL on Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter

To participate and promote your cultural start-up on the Forum d’Avignon’s website: please send to the address forum-avignon.org@orange.fr:

  • A photo (website/founders/logo) in HD
  • A video link presenting your project
  • A short answer (2-3 lines, in English and French) to the following three questions:

                        - What is your project/idea/start-up?

                        - What is your current challenge?

                        - For you, what does it mean to be a cultural entrepreneur