Back to the future: UCL alumna brings Ancient Egypt to London with VR startup
5 August 2019
With a cardboard headset and a mobile app, start-up Musemio are bringing Ancient Egypt to life on August 7 as they celebrate the first year of business.
UCL alumna Kaitlin Fritz (MA History of Arts, 2018) and co-founder Olga Kravchenko look to tackle one question in their latest venture Musemio: how can we make arts accessible for children. Musemio develops innovative and educational virtual reality games for mobile that encourage children to explore arts and culture by doing what they love most - playing.
Kaitlin spoke with Upmarketry recently on what inspired the start-up saying: “Growing up in rural America, I recognised that access to arts often is stifled by geographic, social or economic factors, and this makes me passionate about making arts and education more accessible.
“It wasn’t until I met Olga that we aligned and saw that technology could be the democratising factor in sharing this information for kids from Pennsylvania to the UK.”
With Kaitlin’s educational roots set in UCL, it’s unsurprising that the company have capitalised on research and support out of UCL Innovation & Enterprise and the Institute of Education. Musemio has gained mentoring and financial assistance through UCL Innovation & Enterprise - Launch £10,000 programme and were named as the ‘most promising start-up’ at the UCL Innovation & Enterprise Awards in May this year. The games are also built upon a curriculum developed from research at UCL’s Institute of Education’s EDUCATE programme and Finland’s world-renowned xEDU educational accelerator programme.
And since forming in 2018 they’ve had an impressive first year.
First year wins
After winning the UCL Launch £10,000 programme in the summer of 2018, Kaitlin and Olga have secured over £30,000 in funding from Sky Women in Tech Scholars fund, from angel investors and from Bethnal Green Ventures, a social enterprise accelerator programme.
Olga Kravchenko was also recently named as one of only five women to secure a place in the second cohort of the Sky Women in Tech Scholars. The scheme offers £25,000 in funding to a select few women to fund their tech idea, along with support and mentorship.
Olga commented on the win in the Evening Standard: “VR is a unique medium that mesmerises a child’s imagination. During our research conducted together with UCL and xEdu, we found that it improves retention of the knowledge acquired with the experience, helps with attention spans and can help children to understand and relate to a subject better,” she explains.
“We are extremely excited to explore how we can potentially collaborate with Sky to develop a plan to reach UK parents and help them to bring up the citizens of tomorrow.”
Kids with grins
The pair have also successfully built cultural and educational partnerships from the Hellenic Museum of Technology to UCL’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. And it is at the latter where they will be bringing Egypt to London with their immersive VR technology.
Bring your junior archaeologists and join Musemio at the Petrie Museum on August 7 from 2pm – 4pm. immerse yourself in Ancient Egypt and watch the landscape come to life around you in this educational and entertaining VR experience. Find out more about the event here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/whats-on/musemio-0