Recently, the Paris-American Club featured a talk by Coline Debayle, Co-Founder, and Agathe Joly, International Partnerships Manager, of Artips, a French startup that is smack in the intersection of art and technology… and fun! Like many great ideas, this one was borne of the co-founders’ personal experience – their own difficulty in finding time to attend exhibits or to learn more about the art that interested them. So, in 2012, while still in school, Coline founded the company with Jean Perret (Mr.). They each kicked in 1,000 Euros, and neither took a salary for a year, but hunkered down at the Paris incubator NUMA pursuing their idea – to make learning about art enjoyable, without having to memorize a lot of dates and technical terms. The end result is a free subscription service that sends you a short art history anecdote three times a week, which you can read in under a minute on any device – so you can read about the Nazca desert lines in Peru, or about the volcano in Indonesia that inspired the sunset in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream – while you’re waiting for the train.
To ensure the accuracy of their information, Artips has a network of over 200 art history professors, museum guides and artists, including Gérard Marié, Professor of Art History at Sciences Po in Paris, who is the final authority on the fun facts and stories.
While the newsletter is free, Artips brings in revenues by working with major museums such as the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, as well as with municipal tourism agencies and schools (they hope to grow their educational side). They’ve also created custom-made newsletters for some of the largest French companies.
From their launch in April 2013 with a list of 1,000 contacts, Artips has over 400,000 subscribers (growing at a rate of 30,000 new subscribers a month) today, and fifteen employees.
Artips is looking expand internationally (will we see an NYC office?). So last year they participated in the French Cultural Services Digital Lab, spending a week in New York City meeting with service providers and potential partners, as well as museums and businesses that want to reach a French audience. And, as if that weren’t enough, they’re also branching out to music and science, with Musiktips rolling out, and, in the future, Sciencetips.