'Squared Online was the missing piece that gave me the confidence to launch my startup.'

Posted by Jenni Armstrong on 05 April 2016

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Luca Jakab is the founder of ArtSmart, a startup and social enterprise that represents contemporary artists and supports charities by creating a platform where the two come together. ArtSmart have been around since October 2015 and are based at Campus London, Google's community hub for ideas and entrepreneurs.

As an arts manager, Luca had spent her career organising cultural events with artists, designers, actors and musicians in Budapest, London and Ibiza, and knew that she wanted to launch a social enterprise that was also in the arts. She just didn't know quite what that would be.

'I spent many years turning this idea over in my head, trying to combine the two. I knew I could use digital as a tool to help me, and Squared Online turned out to be the final piece in the puzzle.'

Luca had used social and built websites in her previous roles, but was self-taught and wanted to extend her knowledge beyond the 'how' to the 'why.'

'My goal in joining the course was to be more strategic in how I used them. To learn the terminology behind the things I used everyday, articulate why they worked and harness their full potential. What I didn't expect was that I'd not only get those things, but that I'd have an experience that would redefine how I saw myself.'

Luca had never considered herself a 'leader.' However her Squared journey made her challenge her own ideas around business and leadership. 

'I realised that leaders can be creative and set the culture of a company. Even if you don't have masses of money, what it really comes down to are your ideas.'

Something had changed in Luca. She started to be interested in business. She realised she could be a leader too.

'I thought about the Google story. I looked around at the experts I was learning from on the course, and I realised that being a leader doesn't necessarily mean being cold and corporate. You could be approachable and friendly, and still be respected. I wanted to replicate that in my own company. And that's what inspired me to do it. To follow my own business idea and start something.'

The lightbulb moment came during the course when looking at the internet of things. 

'I realised that in many ways 'internet' is a word we use to mean billions of things, and you can involve digital in anything. I could add digital to the arts.'

A few months after graduating, Luca registered ArtSmart as an official company, started putting together a team and looking for somewhere to set up shop.

'I didnt want us to isolate ourselves in an office somewhere. Even though we're not your typical tech startup, I wanted a place we could really be part of the London startup community.'

Google Campus was the perfect fit.  

'It's such a positive, inspiring space. No matter who you speak to, you come away from the conversation energised and motivated. It's an international community, where everyone shares ideas and collaborates -people have even started coming to us with their ideas for things in the arts!'

Following a successful recent launch event, ArtSmart are busy brand-building and fund-raising. You can find out more about them and the great work they're doing in the art space here.

'I'd been to three different universities in two different countries, but I needed Squared Online to give me that confidence and show me the way. I now see the internet as something that gives me freedom to put different thoughts and ideas together and make things happen.'

We're excited to follow their journey.

You can watch and read more Squared Online student stories here.

Find out more about Squared Online: you can give us a ring on +44 (0) 20 7173 5938, or download the brochure to read about the course and the Squared experience.

Topics: Student stories, Digital marketing, digital disruption, startups