MENU

You are here

Entrepreneurship News

March 22, 2014

Taking Museums and Cultural Institutions Mobile


Samantha Diamond ’11 co-founded CultureConnect, a technology service that puts mobile technology in the hands of every museum and cultural institution - giving them the tools they need to create vibrant and engaging experiences for their visitors. Easy to use and designed specifically for the museum market, the platform helps create interactive tours, mobile image galleries, curriculum guides, and more.

Tell us about CultureConnect and what is unique about it?
My friend Monika Smyczek and I saw that museums and cultural organizations had incredible collections and stories to tell, but most struggled to find the resources and expertise for mobile projects. Only a handful of large institutions can afford to build beautiful apps, so we founded CultureConnect to meet the rest of the market's growing demand. Now these organizations can make their archives and collections accessible to a wider, more diverse audience by engaging people where they spend their time: their smartphones and tablets.

CultureConnect puts the museum experience in the palm of your hand, whether you're a student on a field trip, tourist on vacation or exploring a museum's collection from home. The platform creates and publishes a variety of mobile experiences from custom tours, galleries, education tools and interactive exhibitions. Museums can build a tour for visitors and a standards-aligned curriculum guide for teachers using one system – a task that would have previously required two separate, resource-intensive projects.

What has been your biggest “A-Ha!” moment to date? How has it changed your business?
We started out solving the problem of making mobile technology accessible to museums, demonstrating the technology, how it worked, and why it was different. We really shifted our thinking - and had more success with our customers - when we talked about how our technology changes the museum experience. The technology replaces the clunky, old audio tours and wall plaques museums use to tell a story. Technology is able to deliver an interactive museum experience that encourages discovery and dialog and brings the museum into the classroom.

How did the Columbia Business School classes you took shape your business/management approach?
So many classes were useful. I would say the most practical course was managerial negotiations. I apply what I learned in that class on a daily basis.  I recommend the class to every MBA student.

The Columbia Alumni Connection: How have you used it? How do you stay involved?
Googlegroup emails, Linkedin and Facebook. I feel like I am an email or phone call away from so many people that are willing to help.  

What’s next? Where do you see your business going?
We have built the core of our platform and are working with several museums in New Orleans including the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Preservation Resource Center. We're releasing our first app with the PRC on jazz musicians and the historic homes and neighborhoods in which they lived. It’s really exciting because the app showcases photographs, music, and research that has never been assembled and made available to the public before. Our product is technology, but we are in the storytelling business.

What advice would you give to a graduating Columbia student with entrepreneurial aspirations?
When you start a business, you need to be all-in. I don't think it's possible to dabble as an entrepreneur. It took me six months to decide to start my own company, but when I did, things took off quickly.
 

The Marketplace

Startup Week 2014

Browse the Columbia Business School Marketplace and experience the breadth of businesses from our community this holiday season.

Start Shopping >

 

Spring 2015 Events

January 11, 2015

Lean LaunchPad Block Week Class
Orientation
6:00-8:00PM

January 12-16, 2015

Lean LaunchPad Block Week Class
Professors Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
9:00-5:30PM

January 13, 2015

Lean LaunchPad-Steve Blank (Moderated by Faculty Director Sheena Iyengar)
Alumni Event
6:00-9:00PM, Columbia Startup Lab-WeWork SoHo West, 69 Charlton Street

January 27, 2015

Lang Center Info Session
12:30-2:00PM

February 22, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab-Summer
Applications Due By 11:59PM

February 24, 2015

Summer Fellowship Program
Info Session
12:30-2:00PM

February 25-March 6, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab-Summer
Interviews
12:30-2:00PM

February 26, 2015

Entrepreneur in Residence Workshop - topic to be announced
12:30-2:00PM

February 27, 2015

Columbia Shark Tank Competition
Led by the CEO
12:30-5:00PM

March 3, 2015

David S. Rose '83 Investor Pitch Workshop
12:30-2:00PM

March 5, 2015

Entrepreneur in Residence Workshop - topic to be announced
12:30-2:00PM

March 8, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - WeWork
Applications Due By 11:59PM - Apply Now

March 13, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - Summer
Admission Decisions

March 23-31, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - WeWork
Interviews

March 26, 2015

Entrepreneur in Residence Workshop - topic to be announced
12:30-2:00PM

April 3, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - WeWork
Deliberations

April 5, 2015

Spring Venture Showcase
Applications Due By 11:59PM

April 6, 2015

Columbia Startup Lab - WeWork
Decisions Announced

April 6, 2015

Summer Fellowship Program
Applications Due By 11:59PM - Apply Now

April 9, 2015

Entrepreneur in Residence Workshop - topic to be announced
12:30-2:00PM

April 20, 2015

Spring Venture Showcase
6:30-9:00PM

April 22, 2015

Inaugural Lang Advisory Board Dinner
6:30-8:30PM

April 23-24, 2015

#Startup Columbia Festival

April 24, 2015

Summer Fellowship Program
Selected Students Announced

April 27, 2015

Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program
Annual Alumni Reception
6:30-9:00PM

May 5, 2015

Lang Fund Board Meeting

May 5, 2015

Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Columbia
Demo Event
6:30-9:00PM, Morgan Stanley

May 20, 2015

Columbia University Commencement

 

The Marketplace

Browse businesses from our community of entrepreneurs.

Visit

 

Join the Mailing List

Learn more about the program by subscribing to our email list.

Sign Up

ie@columbia

Innovation and Entrepreneurship @ Columbia provides a platform to develop new ideas by leveraging the cross-functional capabilities and knowledge of the University at large.

VISIT IE@COLUMBIA >