The Romanian travel gaming start-up reinventing city tours

brasov romania

Romanian start-up Questo, a platform for city exploration games, has raised 300,000 euros to help travelers and locals explore destinations by going on tours in game form, called quests. The round was led by Sparking Capital with participation from Early Game Ventures, and will help Questo expand into more cities through local storytellers and tour operators.

With Questo, travelers and locals explore destinations by following clues and solving challenges in order to discover new places and stories. The platform is currently available in 70 cities worldwide, and is growing rapidly.

“We’re transforming city exploration into a fun game that’s safe to play on your own. For this, we partner with tour operators and storytellers from all around the world, who are creating their own games. Our model is so scalable that we could launch Questo in every city of the world. And we’ll probably do that,” says Alex Govoreanu, co-founder and CEO of Questo.

The Questo platform also comes as a solution for tour operators in a post-Covid-19 world. The gamified tours don’t require assistance from a guide, and can be played privately, therefore avoiding large groups. Also, the routes of the quests are designed to help users discover less popular places, while sharing stories crafted by local storytellers.

“Cities are world’s best playgrounds, but for some reason, most of us are playing indoors. With Questo, we are on a mission to change this by working with tour operators and local storytellers worldwide, who are designing their own quests, each with a unique theme. Imagine exploring London as Sherlock Holmes, Paris as Picasso or Zurich as Einstein,” adds Govoreanu.

The funding will be used to continue its partnerships with international tour operators and storytellers, and to further improve the technology to ensure a fun and equally safe city exploration experience for its users. By the end of 2020, Questo aims to be available in 100 cities.

“We are happy to announce a new investment in a talented founding team and an innovative product, which challenges the status-quo of classic city travel via a self-guided tour, delivered through an app,” says Vlad Panait, co-founder and general partner at Sparking Capital. “Responding to the needs of having an engaging, immersive, private and safe city exploration experience, consumers can explore landmarks from all over the world, from Montmartre to Manhattan and from Secret Passage at Chimalistac in Mexico City to the Old Town and Temples of Bangkok.”

Founded in 2016, more than 50,000 people played a city exploration game with Questo last year, while walking more than 200,000 kilometers.

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