5G Frontiers: 360stories on Virtual Tourism and Post-COVID Travel

In May, seven startups enrolled on our 5G consumer programme. The aim? To use 5G to make entertainment faster, wilder and more vivid than ever before. But who are the startups enrolled on the programme? 

We recently spoke to Albert Poghosyan, co-founder of 360stories, a company aiming to modernize the travel experience by offering virtual live tours of your favourite destinations and sights (provided by local guides).

1. How did you get the idea for your product?

We have been working on the idea of telling stories via Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for a very long time. We imagine in the future, storytelling will be key for anyone wanting to communicate short, interesting pieces of information to travelers as well as to the general public.

2. What problem is your product trying to solve?

Currently, only 17% of tours and activities (a $255 billion market in 2019) are booked online. We expect that to double post-COVID.

After COVID, the following problems tripled:

  1. People are concerned about safety,
  2. People are concerned about cost,
  3. People miss human connection,
  4. People yearn to return some sense of normalcy.

3. What’s the biggest challenge your team faced?

Essentially, figuring out the sort of business model we wanted to pursue and the angle once we’d settled on a focus. We had been experimenting for one year, considering making hotels and restaurants part of our target group, before we focused on the tours and activities sector. In fact, we are still untangling some of the knots regarding our product-market fit, but we are sure that we are on the right track.

4. What was the moment you realised your product would be a success? 

It was when we carried out a final pivot to experiences and did customer discovery meetings. Then we teamed up with partners and proved that our idea works, generating twice as many bookings for tours and activities when 360stories videos were used.

5. What skill of yours has been most important for your career?

Sales, sales, sales. Of course, we learned how to build a good product and how to make it look sexy. But nothing will make you learn sales easily.  

6. How do you fuel innovation in your company?

We’re working in VR and AR, so innovation is part of our DNA! If you don’t adapt every month and continue to innovate, you will fall behind really quickly. So our entire field is based on constant innovation.  

7. What book/album/film has inspired you creatively recently?

William Gibson – Neuromancer

8. Which other entrepreneur/startup are you most inspired by?

Brian Chesky, Airbnb 

9. What’s the one tip you would give young entrepreneurs?

Find a mentor/coach at a senior level and be picky! Make sure you find someone who will be interested in sharing their insights with you.

10. What’s the best thing about Germany’s startup community?

It’s full of people that focus and deliver. That is just amazing! I have worked with many people worldwide, but it’s only in Germany that they don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. 

11. If you were to have a billboard in NYC what would it say?

This.

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