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Calgary’s Next Economy – Akius connecting artists and fans for an intimate experience

Jean-David Rombi has always been in the artistic world. It’s in the family.

One uncle is a movie director, another uncle is a musician.

“I was always in this atmosphere, this artistic atmosphere,” said Rombi.

In speaking with his uncles, Rombi said they’d always said that the industry lacks experience and interactivity with the audience. It lacked a way to turn casual fans into superfans.

Now, Rombi has created an online platform – Akius – that connects independent artists and professional musicians with their fan base on a more intimate level.

Think livestreams with interactivity and special performances.

You might think that this was born out of COVID-19 and the reduction in live, in-person performance. Rombi said Akius was conceived well before the pandemic hit – in 2019.

While his uncles may have spurred the idea, it was an experience at a Bruno Mars concert that left Rombi wanting more. He said there was no interactivity, though he’d paid for a meet and greet.

“At the end I said, ‘OK, how is this possible?’ Nobody was thinking about more interactivity through the mobile device,” he said.

The Akius platform

Rombi used the meet-and-greet example to show how a user might have a unique experience with an artist.  If an Akius user bought a ticket for a meet and greet for a show, they would get a one-on-one experience with an artist through an online portal.

It would be similar to the Zoom sessions or Google Meets we’ve all become accustomed to.

“When you know them, this is the fan who pays for a lot of concerts, to buy a T-shirt, a hat, or things like that,” Rombi said.

Artists can sign up for free and then start to invite their fans to participate with them on the Akius platform, which is also available as a mobile app.

It also allows artistic professionals to reach their audience anywhere in the world, at any time.

The real target, in the beginning, was musicians, Rombi said. But, recently they’ve experimented with the influencer crowd. Influencers work with a lot of different brands and their looking for a platform to get the word out.

Exchange and North American exposure

Rombi was thrilled to participate with the Platform Calgary Junction program as a part of the French exchange group.

It was important to him to understand the North American market. While he has artists in Europe already working on the platform, and some in North America, he knows the biggest market is here.

“I think it’s an incredible opportunity to integrate all the all the items to further innovation,” he said.

“It opens a very big door to integrate and propose a winning proposition.”

Right now, Rombi said they’re hoping to collate the data from livestreams, invites, and platform use to expand their footprint in Europe.

Then, with the knowledge gleaned from participation in the Junction program, they’ll replicate that effort in North America. They’re focused on user growth, the number of artists and the interaction between those groups.