There were many challenges associated with outdated on-site experiences at historical destinations. Travellers rely on paper maps (in the local language or limited to English), physical displays, and audio devices with disposable headphones, leading to environmental unsustainability and a lack of interactive, personalised exploration. In addition, there needed to be a universal solution applicable across various destinations.
In response, Finnish startup Reveel offers a that can be incorporated instantly, taking away the stress for destinations of designing solutions themselves. It allows destinations, such as UNESCO-sites, museums, churches, hotels, national parks, and cities to turn their paper maps and physical info displays into interactive, digital guidebooks that open up in the visitors’ phones with one scan.
Now, Reveel has secured $650k in a funding round that was led by Finnish VC Inventure VC (backed UltiHash, Capalo AI, and Wirepas) as well as various business angels from the country. TFN had a discussion with Sebastian Mellblom, CEO and co-founder of Reveel, who shared insights about the company’s debut and its future.
Growing beyond Finland
The investment will be used to recruit more people to its team. In addition, Mellblom said, Reveel plans to focus on the success on the Finnish market, proving early international traction, and exploring new revenue models. It also plans to expand to other markets.
Mellblom added, “While our traction in Finland is excellent, we feel it is important to prove that Reveel is a solution for the entire world. This is why, enabled by this funding round, we are focusing on developing partnerships in Spain, where we can prove the international need for the product. For example, in the city of Estepona in Southern Spain, visitors can now discover the city in their own language through Reveel.”
One important highlight is that Reveel can be used for multiple purposes within the travel sector. Not only is it a smart, sustainable platform for destinations, but also an opportunity for local experts to share their valuable knowledge.
He added, “With this funding round, we are exploring opportunities to work with local guides and travel influencers who can sell their guidebooks or digital tours at the destination, allowing visitors to explore their destination with local expertise. In addition to this, we are creating solutions for outsourcing ticket sales to the Reveel platform, allowing for a true all-in-one solution for both destinations and visitors.”
The idea behind Reveel
Founded by Sebastian Mellblom, Robin Kanerva, Fredrik Fazer and William Helmenius. Two of the founders (Sebastian and Robin) studied entrepreneurship together at Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki. Sebastian has had prior experience in creating startups, and Robin was with the successful Finnish company Wolt from the beginning.
During a visit to Spain, the duo realised that the on-site experience was outdated. – we still get paper maps at tourist attractions. They were inspired to change this and build a platform that would allow any destination to provide their visitors with a modern, exciting experience without having to pay excessive amounts to create their own solutions. By using a digital platform, destinations can take a step towards sustainability by reducing paper waste and disposable headphones.
Later, Fredrik joined in as another co-founder and early investor, with his considerable prior experience in business and his vast network. Finally, it was key to have a co-founder who was completely focused on technology, as this was the very core of the business. This is how the tech genius William Helmenius joined.
Mellblom said, “We focus on the technology so that the destination can focus on the content. Our mission became to make modern, sustainable visitor experiences possible at every destination, no matter how small.”
Some cool startups, including SmartGuide, STQRY, and WeGoTrip offer similar experiences for users. However, as per Mellblom, Reveel has an edge over the competition with a spectrum of possibilities that can be done through the platform.
He added, “From the beginning, we have had it as a “must” that the platform can be used by every destination, from the smallest countryside museum to a nation’s capital city. The possibility for personal, fully customisable content is crucial.”
What does Reveel do?
Reveel makes the entire modernisation process of visitor experiences simple. Instead of having to plan how to develop a digital solution that needs to be built specifically for that destination, Reveel is ready to go instantly.
The Reveel platform offers a suite of tools for the entire on-site experience, from digital audio tours to feedback systems. Instead of creating a project-based solution that will get outdated overtime, Reveel is constantly improving.
Instead of paying hundreds of thousands of euros to create these solutions, Reveel only charges a monthly subscription fee that any destination can afford. By selling digital audio tours at the destination on the platform, the destination now has a new source of revenue.
The platform uses AI to translate all content directly into 28 different languages, allowing travellers from across the globe to discover in their own languages. Destinations can also create digital guided tours through the platform, where the app navigates the visitor through the destination, and at each point of interest, the guide’s voice starts playing automatically. This gives partners a new dimension to their visitor experiences, and instead of building expensive and time-consuming solutions of their own, destinations can join the Reveel platform instantly.
William Helmenius, co-founder of Reveel said, “Our entire software platform has been built with modularity in mind. Future platform features alongside possible future avenues of expansion are already accounted and prepared for. The scalability of every part of our service has been a concern since day 1 and with today’s implemented software architecture we will not be reaching the limits of our potential any time soon.”
COO Robin Kanerva added, “After working at Wolt for 7 years and witnessing the development of a user experience that everyone loves and prefers over competitors, I now want to bring this phenomenon to the travel sector. At Reveel, most of our client meetings start with highlighting the importance of creating real value and an incredible user experience for visitors. This way, we always have a common goal.”