Culture is future » Innovation and digital

05.31.2016

CULTURAL START-UP OF THE WEEK: Mapado

Next-up on our online cultural entrepreneur series, the Forum d’Avignon would like to introduce: Mapado, a startup that provides services and tools to make event organizers and audience match.

What is your project/idea/start-up?

Mapado is grounded on a simple ascertainment which is probably shared by your readers: people are often looking for things to do, while event organisers are searching for their audience. And between those two, there are so many missed opportunities!

On our side, we try to bring services and tools to help these meetings to take place, we are kind of "matchmakers for events & audience"!

First, we bring services for audience. Via a desktop&mobile website, Mapado.com, we allow our users to find things to do that fit their tastes in the largest events database in France (we build it continuously with innovative technologies we created after 3 years of R&D such as “bots” which read schedules of exhibition venues, libraries, cultural places, sports venues…). The more a user will use our website, the more we will be able to recommend things according to his tastes. We also provide this services on interactive outdoor screens located in bus shelters in Paris or Nice thanks to a partnership with JCDecaux.

On the other hand, we also bring a wide range of services for events organizers to help them reach their audience and build links with it. Our most popular service is called “List it”. It’s a smart publication tool for events (concert, exhibition, book signing, sport meeting…) that will push them on all the local event aggregators which list similar events… there are more than 400 in France and probably several thousands worldwide! We also have tools to collect contacts (mail, phone, …) to allow a venue to send last minute offer to its audience, normalized data to help them fill their mobile applications and a ticketing solution which does not break the link between the organizers and their audience.

Our vision is to offer our solutions worldwide once we have tested them in France… and even if we have still a lot to progress in France, we have already a part of our team trying things on the US market!

What challenges do you face in your development?

After 3 years of heavy R&D work, we have created a bunch of very cool tools that are immediatly adopted by event organisers once they have seen them work in a quick demo (by our team during an trade show, or by other users sharing their tips to improve their work habit).  

But the market of culture is so atomized that we cannot present our tools to ten of thousands people who work - often remotely and isolated - on the many cultural activities that happen anywhere in France. Just to give a quick idea of the size of the market, we currently have more than 1 million activities in our database and ten of thousands organizers, and we just cover France!

Our real challenge for success is to be able to contact them, without making them loose time, to see if one or several of our solutions may help them in their daily routine.

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

Guy Kawasaki, one of the gurus of the Silicon Valley (who was in charge of the marketing of the very first Macintosh), once said that « the best reason to start an organization is to make meaning – to create a product or service to make the world a better place ». I think this is a beautiful and noble definition of entrepreneurship. Once linked with the idea of culture, we can feel an even more human oriented and opened vision.

However, business and culture worlds rarely mix, they even try to avoid each other. One one side, “marketing” and “profitability” are classified as forbidden words. On the other side, the “cultural entrepreneurs” always feel the need to justify their choice of working in a cultural environnment by following a “passion”. Is the business world necessarily mercantile ? Is the cultural world necessarily a prerogative of enlightened artists?

Having met with various stakeholders, we realized that it's more an issue about mutual understanding. One good example is the “List it” tool we have developped at Mapado. We have seen busy staff in charge of the communication of events spending hours doing repetitive tasks. We built a tool which automates them and save so much time… while improving visibility of their creations! On a "start-up" standpoint, we talk about “algorithm” and “marketing automation”. Whereas on a cultural standpoint, we talk about “saving time” and “relationship to audience”. And that’s only one example on how tech can help their daily work.

But one of our greatest reward is the feedback of people working in cultural world, who are not stingy with compliments when they like something. And so, everytime we have them on line or we meet them, we really have the feeling to be part - at our scale - of those who make the world a better place!

Jerry Nieuviarts, co-founder de Mapado

Photo Credit © Mapado_com

Follow Mapado on… Websitefacebook, twitter

The web series : we’re interviewing cultural start-ups – Contact us!

As part of its web series on cultural entrepreneurship, the Forum d’Avignon is proud to present each week exciting stories on cultural start-ups.

This project is part of the Forum d’Avignon’s on-going work, in line with its 2015 agenda, on the ‘hybridization of economic models in cultural and on the manifesto on cultural entrepreneurship in creative industries (to be published soon).

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