On 13 November, the fifth edition of Content Award Vienna announced its winners for the best games, applications and visuals in the city.
Viennese startup OMAi and their visual iPad tool – the Tagtool, convinced the jury that they are among the best in the group and they deserve to win in the Apps category – an award that came with a 5.000-euro prize. We caught up with co-founder Markus Dorninger to find out more about the team and their next steps.
“We are really thankful to receive this kind of recognition and this will definitely take us a step closer to a new universe of animated art,” said Dorninger. “The money will be used to improve and further develop Tagtool as it is a project with a long-term vision for visual expression.”
Starting in 2009, the Content Award Vienna has been embracing the startup culture in Vienna, bringing together some of the best tech projects in the area. More than 300 submissions were made this year and OMAi made the list, eventually winning in the Apps Category.
‘Tagtool for the people’
What started as a project supported and funded by family, friends, members of our user community, and a grant by Departure, has now turned into a commercial venture. The current version of Tagtool can be found in the App Store and is mainly used by professional artists who need a more spontaneous and fluid creative tool. But Tagtool has always had a playful, fun side that can be appreciated by a more mainstream audience, too. So Dorninger thinks that “there’s space for a more simplified and accessible freemium version of Tagtool that can be mastered nearly instantly by everyone.” Their working title is Tagtool Jam but they also think of it as “Tagtool for the people”.
Who is OMAi?
“We are three founders – a childhood friend (Matthias Fritz), my brother (Josef Dorninger) and I (Markus Dorninger). Apart from that, we are happy to have some recent additions to the team who share our vision and bring in exceptional expertise,” said Dorninger.
As an artist collective, they started with two main bases for operations, one in Austria and another in Brazil. Yet, with time, “things have changed and [we] realised that face-to-face is still the biggest bandwidth, so we reunited in Vienna,“ he said.
Turning passion into profit
Dorninger referred to Tagtool as a “software and services business”, which means app sales as well as shows and workshops for clients in arts and culture, event marketing and education. “We’re not too concerned about breaking even at this stage – it’s more important to make great products and shows, continue building our team and supporting our passionate community,” he said.
Their main revenue stream comes from sessions such as the “Artist Sessions” – including performances by the OMAi team and artists from their user community, from “Open Sessions” – Tagtool installations where the general public is invited to participate, and from workshops.
The app sales are a valuable additional source of income where “our clients belong to a new generation of digital creatives who want to express themselves from their hearts and souls, therefore we try to grow considerably as we implement our next steps”, said Dorninger.