Startup Launches

One day while at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Victor Velazquez listened to his aunt, a professional visual artist, go on and on about her passion and how it inspires her.

As someone who enjoys art but is not obsessed, pretty soon, he didn’t want to hear another word.

“There is a lack of interaction between museum exhibits and the people who go to museums,” Velazquez told The Buzz. “Why can’t we use technology in the appropriate way so we can create this interaction between museums, the exhibits inside of them and the people.”

Looking to bring art more down to earth, Velazquez and his team founded DeFrame, an app that connects museums, art, and people by enabling museums to attract visitors and gather analytics, while also allowing people and museums to better engage one another.

The Boston-based art-tech startup went through the Northeastern University IDEA Lab accelerator and is planning to launch any day now.

The app aggregates every single museum, as well as other exhibits and art galleries by location to better help people find art around them.

The app then engages users with its chatbot named Frida, which provides information about the museum such as the history behind certain exhibits. The app will also eventually launch a location map of museums so users know where they are, and how to find certain exhibits.

For the museums, the app provides quantitative and qualitative analytics.

DeFrame creates a heat map to show where people are spending the most time and allows users to comment about what they liked about certain exhibits. The app will also enable museums to send push notifications to users about new exhibits or special offers.

According to Velazquez, museums spend $1.4 billion every year on audience acquisition, yet only 40 percent of the U.S. population visits a museum once a year.

“Museums are not using the most efficient way to connect with people,” said Velazquez. “We want people to go back and appreciate art in a user-friendly way without all of the intimidating aspects.”

DeFrame will charge museums a monthly subscription fee to use the service. When it launches, the company will start with museums in Boston, but will eventually expand, as Velazquez said large museums from all over the world such as The Louvre have expressed interest.

Thus far, the company has been bootstrapped, but Velazquez did say DeFrame would be looking to raise funding soon to allow the company to scale.


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