I have an unusual background for an entrepreneur: I have a background in humanities with a Ph.D. in comparative literature. I believe that this atypical background has helped me to think outside the box in the pragmatic world of business.
Thanks to this background, I feel comfortable among diverse cultures and languages. I founded my first company in my twenties, a translation agency. At that time the internet didn't exist yet and everything was incredibly different!
Our company is called “Digital Tangible” (because we make digital things tangible), but we do business under the name of “Nubart”. Technically speaking: Nubart is a branded card with a unique code that gives non-transferable access to a PWA.
But speaking in terms of business: our cards enable museums to easily provide a rich multimedia audio guide to their visitors, and to monetize it by selling the cards, without all the hassle of rented dedicated devices. We call it “the Audio Guide Visitors Keep”.
In 2013 the publishing industry, from which I came from, was very concerned about the disruption of e-books. Simon Effing, Jordi Pérez, and I decided to found Digital Tangible with the aim of selling download cards for e-books in bookstores.
This proved to be a bad idea, and in 2016 we discovered that we could apply virtually the same technology to solve another, very different problem: the maintenance issues that museums have with traditional audio guides. So we pivoted towards audio guide-cards by launching Nubart.
I love how committed my team is to the vision of Nubart. Even though we are a technology company, we move successfully in the field of culture and humanities. There are not many companies that thrive with innovation applied to humanities, and I think that makes us particularly attractive.
I think we have solved this problem for museums thanks to our great technological capacity.
We apply the most advanced typesafe programming languages, such as Scala, to a cultural environment that is not usually very attractive for outstanding developers. This gives us extraordinary results and a great competitive advantage.
Our goal is not only to provide monetizable access to content to the museums but to achieve comprehensive coverage of all the interpretive needs of such kinds of venues. Thus, our cards not only provide access to a prerecorded audio guide but also to a complex tour guiding system. We can even synchronize the soundtracks of our audio guides to on-site video-displays. All this without native apps, just from a browser, and with great ease of use. Several international patents have already emerged from these efforts.
That’s an easy one: writing and researching, as I did before I got into the trouble of founding a company.
We have doubled our revenue every single year since 2017. We are expanding internationally, even beyond Europe, and we have customers in more than 20 countries. 85 % of our customers remain loyal to Nubart and keep ordering new cards. The number of new customers is increasing exponentially from year to year, and also the average revenue per customer.
We had so many difficulties in the first four years of our company's life, and I was so close to giving up, that I still find it hard to believe that we are finally growing. The initial difficulties of being a bootstrapped company that made our initial journey so hard are now proving to be a blessing. They taught us to make prudent use of our resources and to achieve very solid growth. Traction is all the more exciting when preceded by four years of hardships!
After many years of typesafe and functional backend development with Scala, we are excited that we can stick to our principles in the frontend as well and build progressive web apps with Scala.js, and even share code between the frontend and backend in a typesafe manner.
We are worried about browsers that are not following web standards and releasing buggy versions.
You have an excellent reputation in the technological field! Given that until now our efforts to make ourselves known have been directed mainly to the cultural environment, I didn't want to miss this opportunity.
Think twice before founding a company!
Vote for Nubart as the Startup of the Year in our city, Barcelona!