International stage beckons for Brisbane gallery startup

A University of Queensland founded startup that builds exhibition design software for art galleries, museums and theatres has been acquired by Swiss company Culture Software Group.

Ortelia Curator is a software used by creative professionals worldwide to create 2D and 3D interactive exhibition spaces, originating from research led by Emeritus Professor Joanne Tompkins from UQ’s School of Communication and Arts.

"We wanted to develop a tool that could help curators and designers rapidly test and communicate exhibition design concepts with stakeholders," Emeritus Professor Tompkins said.

Ortelia was established in 2009 as a startup company by UQ’s commercialisation company, UniQuest.

"Over the past 15 years it has been incredibly rewarding to see our original idea brought to life and developed to the point where it has real industry application," she said.

The exhibition design software is now used by more than 150 galleries and museums across the world, including the UQ Art Museum, Kunsthaus Zurich, The Institute of American Indian Arts and the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie.

" Ortelia’s services were instrumental in keeping numerous museums and galleries ’open’ during the pandemic and pioneered the use of virtual exhibitions as another form of user engagement," Emeritus Professor Tompkins said.

Zetcom CEO for Culture Software Group AG Marcel Zemp said the Ortelia acquisition will grow the software provider’s suite of offerings in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We are thrilled to welcome Ortelia Interactive to our family," he said.

"Ortelia’s innovative solutions perfectly complement our existing product portfolio, allowing us to offer even more comprehensive and cutting-edge digital services to our customer base worldwide under the Zetcom brand."

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the acquisition was a significant milestone in Ortelia’s growth.

"It’s always fantastic to see UQ research having a significant impact on industry," he said.

"I congratulate the hard-working team behind Ortelia."