The right idea at the right time. This is how jury member and CEO of SevenVentures Dr. Jens Pippig sums up ArtNight, the winner of this year’s SevenVentures Pitch Days. The Berlin start-up has made it its mission to bring people back together offline with an unforgettable experience. The solution? Art workshops in bars and restaurants of the respective city.
Under the guidance of a local artist, participants create a work of art for their own homes in two hours. The painting takes place in a relaxed atmosphere accompanied by drinks and music. We spoke with founder Aimie-Sarah Carstensen about how the idea came about, developed and finally won the SevenVentures Pitch Day at DMEXCO 2019.
Joko Winterscheidt called your idea simple, but cleanly implemented. How did you even come up with the idea for ArtNight?
The idea originated in the USA. During his travels there, my co-founder David discovered the concept of “Paint & Sip “, which consists of coming together to get creative and enjoy a good wine and other tastings. Back in Germany, he inspired me with the idea of offering creative workshops as an entertaining and new form of evening entertainment. And then everything fell into place quite quickly. Within six weeks we built our own website, acquired artists and tested the first ArtNights.
Wow, that is really fast! What kind of locations do you hold your evenings in? Do you have certain criteria for your selection?
Our ArtNight events now take place in trendy bars, cafés and restaurants in 84 cities across five countries. The locations should provide a relaxed atmosphere or cool setting and hold up to 25 people. Our artists find their locations themselves and are in direct contact with the owners.
You speak of your artists. What exactly does that mean?
Our artists are at the heart of our concept. They have a wide variety of creative and artistic backgrounds. In addition to creative knowledge and artistic skills, it is particularly important to us that an artist can create a good atmosphere among the participants from the very beginning. The evening should be entertaining, as the focus is clearly on the experience itself. On the one hand, the artist should be able to respond individually to participants’ questions and, on the other hand, they should be able to guide the group through the evening as a whole in a lively way. Entertainment, self-confidence and time management play an important role here.
What is an evening like for the participants? Who makes up the target group for your events and how do you reach these people?
We are addressing people who want to spend more time offline in today’s digital world. Whether with friends or as a newcomer to a city, ArtNight connects people through this creative shared experience. The focus is placed entirely on having fun and the joy of being creative again. Due to our variety of motifs, everyone will find what they are looking for and people also enjoy taking part in several ArtNight events. Whether through our website, our artists or our location, we consistently focus on the needs of our target group. We are therefore always working on further optimizing the experience. We take feedback from our community very seriously and it always flows into our optimization processes.
In your pitch, you spoke about the concept of edutainment. What exactly do you mean by that?
Edutainment is a mixture of education and entertainment. On the one hand, our experiences focus on enjoyment and fun. On the other hand, it is also a good opportunity to learn helpful tips and tricks from the artists, to promote creative and artistic skills and to learn interesting facts about painting techniques, for example. We pair unique entertainment with individual creativity, which is at the heart of the edutainment concept. In addition to ArtNight, we now also offer BakeNight baking courses, PlantNight workshops on plants and ShakeNight cocktail courses in bars.
Apparently, your edutainment package convinced the SevenVentures Pitch Day jury members at DMEXCO. How did you prepare for the pitch?
Of course David and I developed a strategy as to how we wanted to present ourselves with ArtNight as part of the pitch. The challenge here was to present our concept with all its advantages and uniqueness in a relatively short presentation, to inspire the jury and ultimately convince them of our business model. We also analyzed the pitches from previous years.
That’s a very interesting way to go about it! I sat in the audience and can say that I was absolutely impressed with your presentation. What was your first thought when the winner was announced?
Wow, we really did it! It was an incredible feeling! It shows that all the work we do as a team is appreciated and supported. It’s awesome to see that people believe in our concept.
What’s next? Do you already have plans for the budget you were awarded with?
We will carefully consider how best to use the budget to make sure even more people know about ArtNight and our other entertainment formats ShakeNight, PlantNight and BakeNight.
And after that?
We want to develop further every day and optimize our processes. We’re just bubbling over with new ideas at this point! However, we also know that it is important to focus and further develop and establish our wide variety of entertainment formats.
We wish you a lot of success with that! One last question: Do you have a tip for next year’s pitch participants?
Of course, you should always prepare well and practice, analyze and adapt the presentations several times. However, it is also important to convey the passion and to formulate the message clearly and unambiguously. And, above all, it is important to always believe in yourself and your concept!
The bottom line
“The ArtNight team was particularly inspiring to me, because their concept around edutainment is currently hitting a big nerve in society,” said Kathrin Nusser, jury member and CFO of Flaconi after the award ceremony. “I am looking very forward to supporting the ArtNight team over the next four months in advancing their business model through our Flaconi mentoring program.” And we are also curious to see how Amy and David’s start-up will develop. The fact is, however, that the spirit of the times is perfectly reflected by their business model: the need to use digital technologies in a meaningful way for real life and the social community.