Milan-based Musement, a startup aiming to improve the museum-going experience, announces the launch of their app for iOS. Already offering users suggestions for local attractions, the ability to avoid waiting in long lines by purchasing priority tickets, and booking trips, the company has gone mobile with their app for iOS (and upcoming launch of the Android version in May) to cater to customers who wish to access the service while on the move. Having attracted 20,000 users to its beta test and growing at a reported rate of 50,000 customer per month, Musement has established itself as one of the hottest European startups geared towards the arts and we spoke with CEO Alessandro Petazzi to find out how it was developed and where the company is headed.
Musement was founded in mid-2013 by Petazzi, Fabio Zecchini, Claudio Bellinzona, and Paolo Giulini and Petazzi says that the idea for this business grew out of frustrations with his own trip to a museum in Florence and the realization that the museum and attraction market was particularly ripe for internet disruption. Recognizing that others likely face the same frustrations and researching the market, team decided to establish a startup and provide a solution. Unlike many entrepreneurs, who might need to bootstrap or turn to an accelerator or incubator, the team behind Musement was able to use connections to obtain their desired funding. Petazzi, who previously worked as an executive for Italian telco Fastweb and as a managing partner at ON CUBED, says that he was able to use his connections in the financial industry to arrange meetings with prospective investors and from there, they were able to obtain funding. In September, the startup raised approximately 693K Euro in seed funding from 360 Capital Partners, Italian Angels for Growth, and other investors last September. Petazzi tells Startupbusiness that they are looking raise further rounds in June and/or December of this year and have received interest about further participation from current investors, but may opt to seek funding elsewhere and are keeping their options open. At the present time, Musement’s business model is to facilitate the purchase of tickets to tours and attractions and to raise revenue by taking a commission from each completed transaction.
Within the past year, Musement has already spread far beyond the Italian market and claims partnerships with the operators of 450 European attractions and museums, including the Louvre, the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Vatican museums, the Tower of London, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Leonardo’s “Last Supper”, and more and says that they are adding approximately 200 venues per month. Though currently partnering mainly with European and American attractions, the company has global aspirations and Petazzi tells us that “we are already expanding to Australia, Latin America, and southeast Asia and we plan to be [almost] everywhere by 2014”. The company says that they ultimately aim to provide suggestions for local attractions in a large number of languages and operate in every country around the globe.
Competition for Musement in the tour-booking market includes Peek (which counts Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey as an investor), MustSee, and local tour operators.
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