Secret City Trails raises pre-seed round from Austrian investor
A marketplace for city discovery games gets backing from pan-European marketplace investor, Speedinvest.
Lisbon, Nov, 2018. Secret City Trails, a marketplace for city discovery games, announced that it raised 150k in pre-seed funding from Austrian investor, Speedinvest.
Secret City Trails offers urban adventures during which players (locals or travellers) solve a trail of riddles via their own smartphone. As they solve the riddles, they unlock stories and local recommendations.
This first round of funding will be used to evolve Secret City Trails’ platform, further develop their technology (a web app) and expand the team (in Lisbon) to support marketing efforts and management of the community of game builders.
“We are gamifying city discovery. We entered the market because we wanted to offer an alternative to (guided) city tours that require pre-booking, start/end at pre-defined times, offer little flexibility for spontaneous breaks and rarely go truly off the beaten path.”, said Wendy van Leeuwen, co-founder of Secret City Trails.
“Our discovery games are self-guided, go to hidden places, share unique and forgotten stories, can be enjoyed at one’s own pace and are affordable. And of course, the experiences are playful.”, said Kristina Palovicova, co-founder of Secret City Trails.
This is the first investment Speedinvest has done in Portugal. “We were closely monitoring the Portuguese startup ecosystem for some time now - it is really impressive how many great companies have developed within a short period of time. Lisbon really is on its way to become a European role model, it is impressive how well government, corporates, investors and entrepreneurs are working together to bring the startup scene to the next level.", said Markus Lang, Head of pre-seed programme at Speedinvest.
Secret City Trails, based in Lisbon, works with local game builders who create playful adventures in their own neighbourhoods and cities. The local creators have a new, innovative way to share their cities' unique stories and best places, while enjoying a revenue share. “We like to say that our games are developed by the curious, for the curious.”, said Kristina Palovicova. This way of collaboration with locals has allowed Secret City Trails to expand across Europe quickly over the past year, now offering 40+ experiences in 17 cities.
“We believe in using technology to revolutionise how tourism operates. Yet, we think cities are incredibly beautiful as they are, we don’t need AR or VR to enjoy them. As one of our mentors recently said, ‘forget Pokemon Go, discover real-life hidden gems instead.’”, said Wendy van Leeuwen.
“Ultimately, we aim to preserve the authenticity of cities through the power of play. We have a long and exciting journey ahead to achieve this, but with our pre-seed investment, we’re getting closer!”, said Kristina Palovicova.
"When we invest into an early-stage startup, we need to see experienced and ambitious founders, global potential and a product that solves a real problem. Secret City Trails combines all these aspects, therefore we are very much looking forward to support Wendy and Kristina to make their vision come true and ti build an European market leader.”, said Markus Lang.
About Secret City Trails Secret
City Trails takes travellers and locals on urban adventures - or city discovery games. During the games players solve a trail of riddles via our web app (in their phone’s browser). No downloads are needed, just a little bit (2MB) of data. Our games take players exploring a city’s hidden gems as well as secrets hiding in plain sight. Solving the riddles puts people in the present and requires focus on what’s around instead of on your phone.
Along with each riddle, players unlock stories about the sights and area they are in as well as (secret) local recommendations to wonderful, independent shops, cafes and bars. The discovery games are an entertaining, interactive, instantly bookable, affordable and independent way of seeing and enjoying a city.
In 10 years we will have transformed how people discover cities. We will be the leading travel player that preserves the authenticity of cities through the power of play.
From building games ourselves in our first 11 cities, to working with local game builders to scale, we’re excited for the future. What’s so exciting is that our business plays to so many trends; besides people wanting experiences (instead of things), we are going beyond the hype of escape rooms and turning entire cities into playgrounds. We’re also enabling entrepreneurial folks all across the globe to earn supplemental income by building games with us. On top of that, we’ll be ‘entertaining’ millions of locals and travellers in cities as they explore them and immerse themselves in them while playing our games.
Our games can currently be enjoyed in 18 playful destinations: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bratislava, Bordeaux, Cologne, Geneva, Haarlem, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Palma, Porto, Rotterdam, San Sebastian, Singapore, The Hague and Vienna.
Wendy van Leeuwen / +31 6 18 63 37 07 / firstname.lastname@example.org