Interview with Luis Castaneda

 

BY CHRISTINE ALFORD

LCL Sacsaywaman

Tupuy create audio guide apps for museums and art galleries in many different languages. They offer audio tours of all the best museums and monuments, including Macchu Picchu in Peru, the National Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. We have a chat with the founder of the company, Luis Castaneda.

How long have you been working as CEO of Tupuy?

Like any other start up, Tupuy was conceived thanks to a good conversation over a cappuccino in Lima, Peru. We got so excited about the idea, that we drew the entire business model on a napkin. Sadly we lost the napkin, but we remembered everything we did that night. The first audio guide we made was Machu Picchu, as a tribute to our country. Four years later, I am the CEO of Tupuy.

What inspired you to start the company, and where did you get the idea from?

There are many reasons that motivated me to start Tupuy. I am a traveller and an art fanatic. Every time I went to a museum I had to pay for an incomplete audio guide. Often you can only buy a complete audio guide in English. It didn’t seem fair that I still had to pay the full price. The audio-guides can be heavy and dirty, and they have to be returned. I felt that the museum experience wasn’t complete, and I had to do something about it.

What audio-guides are available at the moment?

At the moment we have several audio guides in Paris. For example, you can visit Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower and Versailles. In London, you can download tours of the British Museum, the National and the Natural History Museum. We offer the only audio guide that is available of the Acropolis of Athens. We also offer tours in Peking, which include the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China.

In New York we offer a spectacular 139 track audio guide of the Metropolitan Museum, and a free audio guide of the Statue of Liberty. As a tribute to our country we have made 33 audio guides of the main 5 cities of Peru, including Cusco, Lima and Machu Picchu. All of these audio guides are exclusive to Tupuy.

It must be exciting to work with freelancers all over the world. What are your plans for the future of the company?

It is exciting to work with freelancers because they provide a local insight and knowledge of the place and it’s culture. We believe they provide that special “extra” that Tupuy likes to offer its users. Working with freelancers allows us to work at several destinations simultaneously, so that we can produce audio guides more quickly. We aim to produce 500 audio guides during the next 12 months.

How did you win the Start Up Peru prize?

In January 2015 Start Up Peru calls upon 2927 registered companies to present their products. Only 41 won, including Tupuy. The prize money has been used to complete the app, translate audio guides and launch its first advertising campaign. Our goal is to upscale worldwide.

It must be a challenge working for such an exciting global company. What do you enjoy the most about your job?

It´s unbelievable to have the opportunity to describe wonderful things like pieces of art. It is great to walk around museums, selecting the best pieces and to explain to people: “Hey, these are the highlights, the things you must see”. It´s a privilege. I hope to earn money of course. Money is important to continue our job, but we really believe it is a contribution to every tourist in the world. We want every visitor to discover the fascination you can feel when you see and admire a piece of art. It is the best job in the world.

What is your favourite museum or monument?

That is a difficult question because I find it hard to choose one. There are 3 that I have to return to again and again; The British Museum, the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. I like to “get lost” and discover new pieces every time. But if there is one museum than strikes me every time I visit, that is the Pergamon of Berlin.

Tupuy have recently launched apps for the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery. You can download them here.

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