As 2020 comes to a close, we’d like to take a minute to look back at the journey Globetrotter VR has made this year. Being a travel start-up in 2020 was not a walk in the park! But with the right team, strategy and execution, we made the best of it. Here are our top 10 moments of the year.
1. We pivoted
As the world went into shut down due to the pandemic, like many, we found ourselves asking the question: What now? We were in the process of creating an immersive travel guide for Barcelona when COVID-19 hit. Given the strict lock downs globally, as well as the negative outlook for the travel industry as a whole, we decided to pivot. Our new mission is to bring people to experience the world from their couch with the help of real tour guides and virtual reality. Read about our pivot in this article by W2.0.
2. Our virtual tour of Zenobia was featured in Diver
Few weeks into our new-found sense of self, we released our free virtual tour of the Zenobia wreck dive in Cyprus. The tour was made entirely remotely. Our team was finding new ways to co-create while staying at their respective homes. The tour was a success! Many of you have taken it, leaving us shinning five-star reviews! We knew that we were on the right track, and were even more pleased when our virtual tour was featured in DIVER – one of UK’s leading diving magazines. Have you seen the Zenobia virtual tour yet? If not, dive in here.
3. We were finalist in Covid-19 solutions hackathon
In May 2020, Globetrotter VR was a finalist of a COVD-19 Solutions Hackathon. The event run virtually, and was supported by Mobile World Capital Barcelona and Barcelona Activa. Over the 3 day event, we worked with mentors and specialists who helped us define our product and brainstorm about various ways to improve it. Part of the challenge was to create a short video that showcased what Globetrotter VR is about. Our video was selected into the finalists, and was streamed in an online event to the partners and participants.
4. Our founder gave an interview to Thrive Global
In the summer, our Founder Anastasia Pashkovetskaya gave an interview to Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global as part of a series about strong women leaders. Anastasia talked about the challenges and advantages of being a female founder, shared tips on how she prepares her mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meetings or presentations, and talked about why diversity is a key element in the culture at Globetrotter VR. Read the full interview here.
5. We launched our Secrets of Barcelona virtual tour
As the Autumn leaves fell, our Secrets of Barcelona virtual tour dropped. Co-created with a boutique travel company TheBarcelonian, the tour transports you to Barcelona from wherever you are in the world. Think, the famous La Rambla street, the magical Felip Neri square, and mystical Pont del Bisbe. The tour is a result of our team’s creative flair, technical genius and countless testing with our users. The Secrets of Barcelona virtual tour is available both on-demand virtual tour, and in a live session where you get to connect with your tour guide and people from all over the world for a virtual walk through of Barcelona’s most mysterious places. Have been meaning to check out Barcelona? There is no time like now.
6. We completed Intelak Travel & Aviation Incubator
We couldn’t believe our luck when we got news that Globetrotter VR was selected into the Intelak Travel & Aviation Incubator. The program provides mentorship and partnership opportunities with its principal partners: Emirates Group, Dubai Tourism, Accenture and Microsoft. During the programme, we got to demo our virtual tours to the people pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation at the corporate partners. Stay tuned for news on these exciting partnerships in 2021.
7. We pitched at GITEX
Unfortunately, 2020 has been a terrible year for conferences and events. We watched with sadness as countless events we were planning to attend got cancelled. In spite COVID-19 still raging in December, Dubai pulled off the seemingly impossible, hosting GITEX – the only physical conference of 2020. This was a landmark event where the tech industry gathered to showcase their innovations and share ideas. Not only were we fortunate to be there in person, but we also had the chance to deliver a pitch on the Orange stage. Watch our founder talk about the why and what of Globetrotter VR in this recording of the pitch.
8. We pitched at Tech Tour XR
This year, we also discovered the magic of virtual events. From VRDays, to Virtuality, to Arival360, we learnt that connections can still be made and knowledge can be shared, in spite of bans on physical conferences. In December, we were invited to pitch at Tech Tour XR, a semi-annual event where the top start ups in the XR industry in Europe get to showcase their products in front of a panel of industry experts and investors.
9. We closed our first angel investment
As we released our first products, saw our customers’ reactions and reviews, we knew that we were onto something great. We also knew that we will need investment to bring our vision of a platform for virtual travel to life. In November, we closed our first angel investment deal, which allows us to invest into marketing and production of more tours. We are currently fundraising our pre-seed round. If you would like to join us on this journey, or know someone who will, we would love to hear from you.
10. Our team has grown
No-one succeeds alone. In January 2020, Globetrotter VR was a one-woman show. In December 2020, we are a team of eight! We are proud to say that diversity, creative freedom and brilliance are part of our DNA. These aren’t just words – 50% of our team is female, and 35% is BAME. Our team members have been part of some of the most exciting start-ups in VR and digital media in the last decade. As we grow, our leadership is taking an active role to cultivate and cement our culture, and grow a company that can not only survive, but thrive in a crisis.
Overall, 2020 has been a challenging, but an exciting year. We look forward to turning over the leaf and starting the new chapter for Globetrotter VR in 2021!