Questo, the platform for city exploration games, raises a new $1.5M round of funding in an investment round led by Early Game Ventures with Sparking Capital’s participation.
As of March 31, the Urban Adventures brand will ‘no longer exist’. The day tour brand of Urban Adventures will be fully integrated into the Intrepid Travel business.
Questo offers city exploration games that enable tourists and locals to discover and learn about a city on their own, guided by the mobile app. While they resemble tours, they act more like real-world adventure games, a new form of urban entertainment. The players explore cities by solving challenges and riddles based on their immediate surroundings, unlocking new places and their stories.
Each quest has a unique theme and role-playing mission, with new ones being launched every week. They’re based on historical facts, local legends, books or movies, and take players around roughly 15 locations, the average duration being two hours.
During the pandemic, Questo more than doubled the number of cities it operates in, exhibiting global scaling potential even during times of crisis. At the beginning of 2020, the company was operating in 40 cities across Europe. As of 2021, it expanded to over 100 cities on four continents, growing its city exploration games supply by 150%, half of them created by business partners.
The investment is set to fuel the company’s growth and expansion globally, planning on offering city exploration games in all the world’s most visited places in the upcoming years. The company will expand to a total of 200 cities by the end of 2021, with a particular focus on the US market.
“People spend most of their lives in cities. Our mission is to enable them to fully enjoy every visible or unknown layer of the city, no matter if they’re travelers or locals. Questo uses storytelling and game design to teleport people to a fantasy story in their city, intertwining fiction with reality.
We like to think of it like Steam for real-world games, where our players are the main characters, and the local storytellers are the game developers. Currently, our primary focus is on exploration games, but the options are endless.”, says Alex Govoreanu, CEO and Co-founder of Questo.
Every city exploration game is created by locals or in partnership with business partners (tour operators, attractions, airlines) on a revenue share basis.
The games can be played 24/7, 365 days a year, and are available for purchase in the Questo iOS and Android apps, the platform’s website, TripAdvisor, Expedia, GetYourGuide, Klook, or Musement, for prices ranging from 8 to 20 Euros.
“We concluded our first investment in Questo less than a year ago and are very happy to follow up with a substantial commitment. The high in-app engagement, the global scalability, and the incredible traction even in times of the pandemic made the investment decision quite self-evident”, says Cristian Munteanu, Managing Partner at Early Game Ventures.
“In 2020, Questo developed the organizational, partnerships, and platform infrastructure which will allow them to have exponential growth when tourism will start recovering. We kept the same high confidence in Alex and his team that they are able to accomplish this growth“, says Vlad Panait, Managing Partner at Sparking Capital.
The Tourpreneur Take
This funding could be a game changer for Questo – ‘The company will expand to a total of 200 cities by the end of 2021, with a particular focus on the US market.’ On a personal note, I am a follower of the company and have enjoyed seeing them grow. I look forward to enjoying a Questo game soon! We will be chatting with Questo on the podcast soon to explore what opportunities there may be for tour operators – stay tuned.
Questo is an award-winning travel platform 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. Questo has received the” Most Disruptive Travel Start-up of 2019 in Hospitality” Award from UN’s World Tourism Organization and is considered one of the Top 25 Hot Travel Startups of 2020 by Phocuswire.
Early Game Ventures (EGV) is an early-stage venture capital firm investing in startups that jumpstart new industries in the emerging markets of Europe.
Sparking Capital is an early-stage Venture Capital fund backing tech startups with differentiating value propositions, disruptive business models that have the potential to scale up fast internationally.