Moscow-based Thngs is building something akin to a Wikipedia for physical objects. Although, given that the startup is already working on ways to monetize its offering, purists will likely take issue with that comparison.
Working with museums initially, Thngs wants to create a digital repository of physical objects, including high quality images and descriptions, so that they are not lost forever.
The company has already signed deals with two Russian museums — Polytechnic Museum and Moscow Design Museum — and has produced over a dozen ‘Shows’ which sees it help museums and makers create an online collection of their wares.
“Thngs is a place for every thing to collect and share information about physical objects — things,” explains co-founder and CEO Dima Dewinn. “We made it easy and comfortable to discover, share and save information about things. The service allows museums, collectors, brands and producers to reach out to their audiences, giving almost the same experience in physical dimension”.
Entirely bootstrapped to date, Dewinn says the startup has attempted to fundraise but so far without success. “We had a couple of meetings with Russian investors, although Russian investor is a myth itself as a typology,” he says. “We were told that there is no way we could build such a complex service, and even if we have, we wouldn’t make any money. US VC funds told us that the service is great, but we need to move to US to develop it”.
Instead the Thngs team focused on developing key features of the service and figured out a way of making money. It turned out that museums need precisely what the startup could offer —- digitising collections and providing a tool to communicate the resulted content. “Makers and manufacturers have the same need,” says Dewinn.
To that end, the startup helps its clients create high-quality images and 360 sequences of their things, and provides public access in a way people are familiar with and want. In addition, Thngs is about to launch a partnership program with Getty Images so that its clients (museums, galleries and collectors) can sell their images, 360s and 3D models via Thngs.
Adds Dewinn: “The physical preservation of all things is not possible, but we can preserve information about them. We made Thngs as a Wikipedia for physical objects, where each thing has its own page with metadata, images and files, that anyone can edit. We aim to develop a tool to discover, collect and get things. A Noah’s ark for the material world”.