Mixed Reality Frontiers: The Future of “Art-Tech”

In 2020, 13 startups enrolled on our Mixed Reality Program. The aim? To co-create the next big thing in digital interaction, entertainment and content, and bring mixed reality to the mass market. But who are the startups enrolled on the programme?

Artivive is one of them! We chatted to co-founder and CEO Sergiu Ardelean about hitting the 10k-active-user milestone on his platform; why he’s inspired by the ingenuity of master art forgers and why “any startup idea might be stupid until it isn’t anymore.”

1. How did you get the idea for the product you’re working on in the MR program?

The Artivive app, available on mobile phones and tablets, is a fundamental part of our product and service portfolio that enables users to experience augmented reality art. As an art-tech startup, we are continuously striving to expand and improve our product offering and move forward with an innovative approach. As such, exploring the possibilities of head-mounted displays is a logical next step for us. Exploring AR art through mixed reality glasses will enable a completely new experience.

Viewing AR art through mixed reality glasses allows for a completely new experience. Rather than feeling detached from the art, the viewer is invited to participate and become a part of the exhibition. By making art an immersive experience — and reshaping the traditional approach of hanging an artwork on a wall that we can’t touch — we intensify the emotional bond between spectator and artwork.

2. What problem is this product trying to solve?

Museums worldwide are facing the challenge of meeting the demands of a younger and digitally-savvy audience while maintaining organizational interests. Our mission is to bridge this gap and bring museums into the 21st century with augmented reality. Without altering the physical exhibition setting and artworks, augmented reality can bring the artworks to life and tell the stories that lie behind them.

3. What is the biggest challenge your team faced?

We are convinced that digital technology can spark an interest in art and culture, and convey information more effectively. By enhancing art with augmented reality, visitors can engage with the artworks and exhibitions, which stimulates thinking and generates emotional connections between the viewer and the art. The challenge we face is convincing museums and institutions that visitors benefit from this extended experience and that AR is an incentive for further exploration of art.

4. What was the moment you realized your product would be a success?

One of our most important milestones was hitting 10,000 active users on our platform. Reaching this target has motivated us to continue our journey and to go the extra mile. We now have a community of more than 90,000 artists and creatives from 92 countries using our platform to create AR art, as well as over 2 million app downloads.

5. How has the hubraum program helped you develop your product?

With hubraum, we get early access to cutting-edge mixed reality technology from Nreal. This has allowed us to develop a prototype for the Artivive app that is compatible with Nreal’s head-mounted display. Thanks to the hubraum mixed reality program, we are able to offer groundbreaking tools for educational and entertainment purposes in the cultural sector for future commercial use.

6. How have you found designing a product specifically for the NReal glasses?

We are in the process of developing the application specifically for the Nreal Light glasses. While it is challenging to work on something completely new, we are convinced that it is worth overcoming these hurdles. It is incredibly rewarding to experiment with new technology and explore the infinite intersections between art and technology.

7. Make up and answer your own question!

What’s key in each relationship dynamic (team, startup, clients, investors…)?

At the core of it all: expectation management. Establishing clear expectations at the start of a project or partnership — for all parties involved — is essential for fruitful and enjoyable collaboration.

8. What skill of yours has been most important for your career?

For me, it all boils down to curiosity and passion. I’m inherently curious as to why things work a certain way — and whether there is another way to do it better. Of course, an interest in technology combined with a love for visual arts, design, video and animation inevitably led me down the art-tech path. But I think another thing that plays an important role, is simply being impatient and having the desire to change the world.

9. How do you fuel innovation in your company?

One of the essential ingredients for innovation, in my opinion, is having a diverse team. Here at Artivive, we encourage every team member to contribute their own expertise and unique skills. We make sure to include a wide range of perspectives and to remain open to feedback when trying out new things, in order to drive innovation. Moreover, a constant exchange with the art world helps us to identify new developments and demands at an early stage and to adapt these needs accordingly.

10. What book/album/film has inspired you creatively recently?

Beltracchi: The Art Of Forger on Netflix, this is the blurb for it: “Artist and master forger Wolfgang Beltracchi is profiled, with insights into his life, talent and the international art world that made him millions.”

I loved how Beltracchi, the forger, created better artworks than the originals and managed to make a very successful living from it. It sparked the question of “Were the originals really better?” Highly recommend it.

11. Which other entrepreneur/startup are you most inspired by?

I would have to say that I’m most inspired by my team, rather than entrepreneurial superstars. The energy and diverse perspectives that everyone brings to the table can sometimes cause disagreements, but these always help us to move forward and create new and beautiful things.

12. What is the one tip you would give young entepreneurs?

First of all, things are not always how others say, so try things out for yourself. And second, but most important of all, any startup idea might be stupid until it isn’t anymore, so persevere!

Fancy taking part in our next XR program? Don’t delay, apply for our XR developer program now.

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