Similar to many Bostonians, entrepreneur Brendan Ciecko has a deep appreciation for arts and culture. “One of my favorite museums is MASS MoCA [Museum of Contemporary Art],” Ciecko says. “It is an incredible experience.” He also has a world appreciation for museums as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow [MOCAK], located in Poland, is positioned high on his list of personal favorites.
Ciecko’s company, Cuseum, provides the ideal products for avid museum goers such as himself. Founded in 2014, Cuseum is a platform for museums, historical sites and non-profit institutions to engage their customers in a more personal way by providing curated tours created by the institution.
Recently, the company announced its newest product, digital membership cards for institutions. “We have a goal to replace over 100,000 paper or plastic cards by the end of 2017," Ciecko said confidently. "In addition to the positive environmental impact, this would result in millions of dollars of savings in time, materials, and shipping costs."
How do the digital membership cards work? They will be on a user’s smartphone. Instead of losing a membership card or forgetting it at home, it will always be with the user. The mobile cards are already being utilized with select clients for Cuseum across North America.
After completing Techstars Boston and raising $1.5M in funding back in 2015, the company had a busy 2016. “We were able to grow leaps and bounds in terms of infiltration of the market that we serve,” said Ciecko. The company now has over 100 clients worldwide including museums like the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, as well as other non-profits and public attractions.
There are tens of thousands of museums across the globe looking to connect with their attendees in a more efficient way. While Cuseum hasn’t conquered the museum world quite yet, Ciecko is pushing for an even bigger year. “In 2017, we are looking to raise the bar as high as possible,” Ciecko says about his company’s future. “And get into as many museums as we can.”
Before forming his own company, Ciecko was involved in working either with or within museums. Currently, he sits on the Museum Council at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Comparable to Ciecko’s experience working with museums, two of the employees with the company have ties to two Boston museums. Cuseum’s head of sales, Dan Sullivan, works with the Boston Sports Museum in the TD Garden. The company's partner happiness coordinator, Isabelle Groper, worked with the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston as well.
The arts and culture within the Hub have grown over the past couple of decades. Ciecko is not only glad to have a company involved with it, but happy to be a longtime supporter. “Seeing Boston propelled by both the arts and its vibrant tech scene is such a powerful notion," says Ciecko.
Images provided by Cuseum.