Musemio, aiming to revolutionise the way in which children experience a museum
Founders Olga Kravchenko and Kaitlin Fritz worked together to create Musemio, aiming to revolutionise the way in which children experience a museum, by using fun and entertaining elements whilst educating children. With the aid of ‘virtual reality’, Musemio incorporates a modern way of learning, ensuring quality education by working with museum professionals.
These two entrepreneurs came together through wanting to solve the problem of how to make cultural and arts education accessible but fun, for every child across the globe.
Ukrainian-born Kravchenko completed her Arts Bachelor’s degree at Queen Mary University London, continuing with a Masters in Arts and Cultural Management at King’s College London, focusing on immersive experiences in cultural institutions. When taking her younger brother to her favourite museum exhibit, he ran away to be on his phone and game with his friends. Realising that todays’ children require a different format of cultural learning, she began looking at the play aspect and how that could be incorporated using new technologies.
Fritz grew up in rural Pennsylvania and though isolated from the nearest museum, her parents instilled a love for art and learning in her from a young age, continuing through her studies in a Masters in Art History at University College London, with focus on making art and culture more accessible to all, especially children too.
After meeting at a King’s College Hackathon event, they worked synergistically, aiming to solve not only the diminishing access to arts education in UK schools but also the decreasing museum visits for the under 18s. Building upon Kravchenko’s experience within the VR sector and Fritz’s background within EdTech and child industries, they built a child-friendly EdTech game for both parents and educators to utilise called Musemio, cultivating global experiences and enabling additional discussions in the comfort of the child’s home. Musemio has created the bridge between education and entertainment, making the museum experience more fun.
But how did they reach this audience, who weren’t actively engaged in the museum scene? Thinking as a customer might, they went to museums frequented by or targeted at families and talked with parents first-hand, to hear their wants and needs in an EdTech product. Through engaging with them additionally online on parental groups and forums, Facebook and leveraging their own contacts, led to more than just primary research. Musemio now had an excited group of parents eager to try their product and place orders.
The future of Musemio
Musemio’s mission is to reimagine cultural education, with every child having access to cultural and creative learning. With the tech soon due for completion, they aim to launch commercially to parents in February 2019, expanding the outreach to schools later next year. As a member of the UCL Institute of Education and EU Regional Development Fund’s Educate Programme, they plan to work with global mentors and researchers for the next 6 months to not only delve deeper into the studies around VR education but to validate Musemio’s VR education’s academic merit. Providing cultural institutions with the opportunity to showcase their collections on a global scale, they aim to capture heritage and museum sites worldwide from 2019.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Fritz candidly said:
“I would advise that entrepreneurship takes courage and persistence because it is not an easy journey but when you are passionate about a problem, it is worth it. Meet with like-minded people whether it’s at university, networking events, or hackathons and most importantly, learn to love coffee!
I love the quote by Seneca that reads, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I wish I had known that entrepreneurship boils down to this! Now, I am always prepared with my pitch and we actively search, apply or create business opportunities because you never know what might be the game-changer in your business. Now, we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to be a part of the Varsity Pitch Finals.”
Taking into consideration their cultural backgrounds, they went on to discuss the support that they received as young entrepreneurs, as with neither being natives, they recognised that the UK’s support system for young entrepreneurs is a hotbed of innovation and inspiration. The universities in London’s wide network of entrepreneurship, including QMUL, King’s College and UCL, had been instrumental in their success and without their mentorship they wouldn’t have advanced in their development both professionally and personally, in such a short amount of time.
As a global team, they each have their own unique experiences but realise that London is different.
“So many people are willing to give their time, efforts and guidance to help us make our business a success but I think there is still room to improve the ecosystem. As a female-founded team, we believe that there should be a more proactive push to foster entrepreneurship in women of all ages and we hope that women in entrepreneurship, from female VCs to women-founded start-ups, will continue to inspire and engage with the next generation of female-founders.”
On participating in the Varsity Pitch 2018 Online Peoples’ Vote sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group and the competition in general, they said:
“The entire team was thrilled about the opportunity to attract votes in this competition! We never crowd-sourced votes before but were eager to share Musemio with everyone — family, friends, mentors and educators from Carolina to Kiev. We were even more excited when others reposted, shared and supported us throughout the process and couldn’t believe over 2,800 people saw our video in such a short amount of time!
We are looking forward to sharing our platform of arts accessibility not only with the judges but also with the audience. We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing opportunity to meet other founders in this community of like-minded individuals, share knowledge across disciplines from arts to MedTech and connect with potential partners. Can’t wait to just experience an amazing showcase of innovation!”