Starting Up in Cuba Today: GuiArte, An App to Find Artists
GuiArte is a mobile app that features a well-assorted directory of professional profiles linked to the cultural realm in Cuba, as well as a section where artists promote their work and performances. This startup aims at fostering, by using new technologies, the development of the artistic movement in the Caribbean country. In a bid to learn more about this app, its business model and growth prospects, PanamericanWorld talked to its creators, Ada Leyva and Manuel Alejandro Borroto.
How did this startup come up?
My wife — Adan says — was the musical director of a women’s band and she had to put together a team in only ten days. Finding musicians was a difficult mission, since there was no database where you could say: “I need a bass player, a percussionist, etc.”
There was nothing to offer that kind of information, so I thought that it would be useful to make a catalog with images, curriculums and contacts. In the beginning we thought about creating a sort of consultancy agency, but we realized that it wasn’t viable. That’s why we decided to work on an app for smartphones.
We began to develop the project within the first edition of Sonando en Cuba TV show, and we even believed that it would have been a good name for the app. On April 5, 2016, we officially launched it with only six categories, during the Young Producers Show.
We soon realized that musicians are not the only artists needing this service. We considered the introduction of other categories and we presently have 34. The list includes visual artists, production companies, DJs, dancers, comedians, models, actors, etc…
How does GuiArte work?
Our database is made up of the information provided by our customers. Sometimes they send their contents on time, sometimes they don’t. If we had the programs in advance, that content could reach out to more people.
Our users can download and update the app on the Internet or they can copy it from other users, the Paquete Semanal(Weekly Package) or cellphone clinics. We are also on Google Play and CubAPK. Likewise, it can be updated by means of Nauta email.
What’s your business model?
GuiArte’s costs are practically symbolic. For instance, artists can have a profile for 15 CUC a year, and they can even be included in different categories for the same price.
So far, we have over 240 customers, most of which are musicians and visual artists. We have received positive critics.
The app includes a feedback mechanism —Manuel explains—. Whenever a user activates the app, the device sends us a signal. We estimate that over 2 thousand users have the app to date, but we are sure there are more people using it.
What are your present and future challenges?
The hardest part of our work is related to the connectivity, both in terms of the update and development. As for the future, I visualize GuiArte as the great social network for Cuban artists, where they can upload their information and users —even without Internet access— can update it and follow their favorite artists.
GuiArte on social networks
By Jorge Carlos de la Paz / PanamericanWorld – Havana