Karibu Games wants to bring gaming into the heart of online travel
TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Spain-based Karibu Games, a gaming development company targeting travel, tourism and hospitality brands.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
- Bernhard Krupka, CEO – previously at Arthur D Little, TUI, Amadeus, Clickair and then Daemon Quest.
- Andy Owen Jones, chairman, previously CEO of Traveltainment and before that at Amadeus, Virgin and British Airways.
There are experienced platform development teams in Germany and a games studio in Equador
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
We secured Business Angel funding in September and have funded the rest of the business together with the first sales of games to major customers.
We are now closing in on first round funding and signing larger customers which enables us to be selective in our choice of funding.
What problem are you trying to solve?
How to engage with customers and ensure that brand interaction is relevant, cost effective and measurable in an age of fragmented channels.
We see games as an excellent way to educate and engage with people spending far longer playing a game than they will spend looking at an advertisement.
A well designed game conveys messages very powerfully and can be used to directly generate businesses through coupons and offers.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Karibu builds games which represent brands and brand messages and ensures that marketing spend is reflected in high quality, measurable customer interactions.
Karibu now has a portfolio of games for social media, browser and mobile. In addition we can generate coupons, track behaviour and measure customer interaction with the games and elements of the games.
Karibu is partnering to develop a travel agency channel to promote tour operator and destination products to travel agents across Germany. This will be launched imminently.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Ministry of Tourism Spain, General Motors, Danone, Budgetplaces, TUI, Killpaff, Metropolitan Tours, Coca Cola, a bank, insurance portal
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Informal discussions. But we sold our first games immediately to Danone and the Ministry of Tourism of Spain and so the model was rapidly validated.
Most of the customers we have talked to have either taken a game or have told us to come back in 2012 when they will have a budget.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
The initial model has been to have custom games built for brands. However we are in the process of moving towards transactionaland data based models with elements of revenue sharing.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Games studio, in depth CRM and data knowledge, successful management of games, portfolio of components, revenue generating clients, data capture platform, well connected in travel industry, proven delivery.
- Too few staff to capture all opportunities and not enough capital yet to hire all the people needed
- Major growth of gaming, gamification and social networks and the potential is only just being introduced into mainstream customer interaction
- Marketing budgets for social media are diverted in unproductive and unmeasurable directions
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
Our families who would have appreciated more secure jobs! But the instant client success and evident appreciation of the model suggested that there would not be a problem in creating a business
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
We have an ambitious revenue target for 2012 and are tracking to be profitable in 2013.
We aim to have the biggest database of measurable game data and brand interaction allowing customers to see how they perform relative to others.
We want to add our first major social game to our portfolio and to win business in France and the UK to add to Germany and Spain.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.