Artefact isn’t your average tech company. Its work lies “at the intersection of art, architecture and technology”, where it uses our urban environments as its palette. It should be no surprise, then, that its CEO also stands out from the crowd, with Bence Pap being both an architect and an academic.
Bence co-founded Artefact with Mathias Bank, Dieter Fellner and Michael Knoll, with a clear focus from day one. Their company would develop new augmented reality services and products for commercial and cultural markets.
But this is one of those cases where images – or videos – talk louder than words. Here’s a 20-second teaser of what Artefact created for the Mumok Museum in Vienna:
Read on to discover how Artefact came into being – and Bence’s advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
What’s your elevator pitch?
Artefact combines spatial concepts and design ideas (coming from our backgrounds as architects on an urban scale) with our interest and competency in developing tailor-made augmented reality products for clients. We envision a hybrid “phygital” urban realm where digital information coexists with our physical built environment.
What made you launch a startup?
Thanks to our experience and expertise, we were lucky enough to stumble into a few projects in the beginning and later on, were awarded a grant by the city of Vienna. This really kickstarted us into a professional company.
What problem are you trying to solve?
We look at a broad spectrum of our habits and daily rituals, strategizing on how mixed reality might help. The problem here is a spatial one. How do we choreograph digital content in space and scale in relation to our real world? This might sound simple but it has a tremendous effect if done well.
Who are your main competitors and what distinguishes your startup from them?
We don’t really have major competitors, as I think the combination of an architectural background coupled with AR app development is rather unique. Of course, we look out to great work done by other developers and interdisciplinary studios working on projects that involve space and the meaningful integration of technology. I really admire the work here, for example, of Random Studio.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time?
Make yourself and the team multidisciplinary from the beginning with expertise in business development, acquisition, financing and HR. The core competency of a company will never flourish if you can’t handle these other challenging aspects [of running a business].
What would you say to potential investors reading this interview?
Never be afraid of new adventures. Risk is calculable, but the growth of the mixed reality sector is enormous – and that should ensure that engagement with this sector, where a unique approach and design intelligence will always be successful.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs and anyone looking to launch their startup?
Have a deep understanding of what you are doing and the social-cultural sector you are trying to deploy to or cater for. Understanding your target and goals is just as important as having visionary ideas with your own work. Secondly, have patience, nothing comes instantly. Continuous strategic and steady growth is key to sustained success.
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