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Questo: mobile city exploration

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“Typically, in exploring a city, everyone is following each other to the same crowded, expensive places. In the end, we’re not explorers but followers,” says Alex Govoreanu, co-founder and CEO of Questo. “So we started to think about why people travel, and how they travel. Future generations like Millennials and Generation-Z – what do they have in common? Games. They have gamification mechanics in all the products they use. So we tried to bring the two together.”

Questo, founded in 2017, is a travel platform in the form of a mobile app, for city exploration games, enabling tourists and locals to explore cities on their own by solving challenges in their immediate surroundings in order to discover new places and local stories.

“In Questo, you play the role of a character, you have a mission to execute. There’s a starting point, you receive challenge, a route, you solve it, and you get the next one. By the end, you feel like you’re the character. You are Sherlock Holmes in London,” Alex explains.

What’s particularly interesting is that the quests are not created by Questo. The platform is open, so people can onboard and create their own quests, and share revenue. “We work with independent creators, authors, writers, tour operastors.” The benefits for the user? Flexibility - unlike following a tour guide at a given time, and affordability. “Our quests are available at the touch of a button, any time of day or night, any season. For the Haunted Rome quest, 80% of users start playing after 10pm.”

And while places are connected through fiction, there are facts intertwined. The plot is fictional but the place is real and so are the facts around it. “All our facts have to be interesting and cool. We don’t go for quantity, but short and sharp facts. The kind of facts that you will share with your friends: riddles, puzzles, all connected to the specific space.”

In 2020, Questo received an equity investment from venture capital firm Earlygame Ventures, backed by the EIF, that helped the company with product development. “Every quest is a living animal,” explains Alex. “At the beginning it’s like a baby. We get feedback on a weekly basis, improve it, refine it and after 100 users, it’s a different quest. Same after 1000.” The business is constantly evolving. “There has never been a better time for what we do, with travel picking up, smartphones in everyone’s pockets, internet accessibility…, Now it’s a matter of execution.” And execute they have, surpassing 100,000 completed quests by December 2020, and aspirations to grow from 100 to 200 cities soon.

Company: Questo (Bucharest, Romania)

Type of business: ICT, tourism & entertainment

Financial intermediary: Earlygame Ventures

EIF financing: ESIF Competitiveness Romania

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Romania, please refer to:
http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/ro

 

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