A-Maze, the escape game

A true story about A-Maze, the Hague based escape game startup which has managed to gain advantage on a niche market. An interview by my colleague, Gábor Schneider.

Escape games or escape rooms might be familiar to almost everyone nowadays. This is a kind of game in which you and your friends – or whoever you join to – are locked into a room together and have to solve different mind-breaking cases to get out in a limited time. Usually these escape rooms look like a movie set based on specific topics.

This topic is pretty interesting to me, since this special and quite entertaining game was invented – or at least it had been brought to public – by Hungarian people. I have read an article about the unique A-Maze experience and decided to invite Ádám Kondor, a Co-Founder of the company for a Skype call. He was very sympathetic and eager to tell me about their story and future plans so let me share this with you.

Ádám told me that he first tried different kinds of escape games with his cousin and his cousin’s girlfriend in Hungary, back in 2012. It was a love at first sight for them, but Ádám lived -and still lives- in the Netherlands at the time and there were no escape games at all.

Since the trio had entrepreneurial ambitions combined with a true passion related to escape games, and they only had been waiting for the right idea and the right time.. this seemed to be the right choice.

At the beginning of 2013, Ádám, his cousin Dávid and Dávid’s girlfriend Beáta had a New Year’s resolution of making their own escape game company. Ádám lives in the Netherlands since 2010 and his cousin, Dávid also went to a Dutch university, so the “where” question got an immediate answer. There is also a non negligible fact that this kind of entertainment was completely missing from the Dutch market.

In the first few months they had to remain at their jobs but thanks to these kind of efforts they could manage to firm the company from their own equity, step by step. This time Ádám, Dávid and Bea organized and directed the games but to the date they have an organizer team of six people, contractors and a marketing intern working at the -very fancy- A-Maze office in Hague, Netherlands. They have 3 escape rooms with completely different sets, like a cold war era KGB room, an Urban Legend room and the Crazy Doctor’s room.

Ádám told me that the most difficult part was to gain the attention of local people, since the team did not have the right connections at the time and no one tried to do something like this before. Fortunately in 2013/Q4 and 2014/Q1 the A-Maze rooms became very popular and this escape game hype forced other entrepreneurs to create their own rooms with their own sets. Ádám has a very positive opinion about this, because this kind of entertainment gets even more and more popular this way, as he told me.

What’s the difference between A-Maze and other related companies? Ádám has a very strict and perspicuous answer to this question. They simply don’t want their rooms and this whole genre to be a part of mass entertainment, which could lead to worsen the experience a room can give to you. They invest plenty of time into planning every single details of a room, it’s mind-breakers and the interior/exterior of a game. These details and their attitude regarding to the genre makes them different from the competitors.

Posted in Hungary-Startups, Interviews, Netherland-Startups | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Thermondo secures € 6 million from Holtzbrinck Ventures and Rocket Internet

Thermondo-logoThermondo, one of the pioneers of the digital revolution in the heat solution and installation market, raises fresh capital (€6 million) from Holtzbrinck Ventures and Rocket Internet as well as from the existing investors E.ON, IBB and Grey Corp.

The Berlin-based startup digitizes the process of the HVAC exchange – from lead generation, sales, installation to after-sales. Continue reading

Posted in Funding, Germany-Startups | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Interview with Dörte Höppner, Chief Executive of the European Venture Capital Association

Risk capital funds have been closing more deals in Europe recently. Investment activity in VC-backed European tech companies reached a four-year high in both deals and dollars in 2014. Also, U.S. venture-capital investment in Europe is increasing steadily, a recent report by Germany’s Earlybird Venture Capital has found. I was curious to know if this is a trend. I questioned Dörte Höppner, the boss of European Venture Capital Association (EVCA). The EVCA covers full range of private equity activity, from early-stage venture capital to the largest private equity firms, investors such as pension Continue reading

Posted in Funding, Interviews, Know-How, Startups in general, The EU and Europe | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Munich-based Talentry secures investment by Allgeier Group to support future growth

talentry-logoTalentry, a Munich-based startup with the goal to make your life as a recruiter as easy as possible, has successfully completed another financing round. With Allgeier Group, Talentry won an important strategic investor for their future development. ProSiebenSat.1’s Accelerator program, which was the first to invest in Talentry, and has supported the startups early development, sold its stake to Allgeier Group as part of this move. However, ProSiebenSat.1 will remain loyal Continue reading

Posted in Funding, Germany-Startups | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Campaigning Summit goes Berlin

Campaigning-Summit-BerlinEurope’s leading conference for campaigning, the Campaigning Summit, reaches Germany for the first time. The Campaigning Summit Berlin takes place on May 22nd and is dedicated to “The Art of Mobilization and Engagement. Trends, Tools, Cases”. The core questions, which will be discussed during the event, are how people can be mobilized and activated, what makes campaigns successful and which trends in the field of campaigning will be important for the next months Continue reading

Posted in Germany-Startups, Know-How, Other Stuff | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Top deals seen in Central and Eastern Europe in March

Euro-DealsHere is my list of some interesting deals from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), seen in March. Often overlooked by big US and Western European investors, the region offers many good deals, at much cheaper valuations compared to the US market.

Russian billionaire and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich continues to invest in Israeli start-ups: through Continue reading

Posted in Acquisitions, The EU and Europe | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

EU-Startups.com pauses till the 13th of April

On-VacationDear readers, Hereby I would like to inform you, that I’m on vacation till the 13th of April. Somewhere far away where I only have very limited access to the Internet. This means, that EU-Startups.com almost entirely pauses for the next ten days. Emails won’t be checked as well. For the time being, I wish all our readers some nice and successful days, as well as happy Easter!

Posted in about EU-Startups.com, Other Stuff | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Signal Raises $1.8m To Launch Next Generation Market Intelligence Platform

London-based market intelligence and information discovery platform Signal today announced a seed funding round of $1.8m from top tier investors. The funding, led by Frontline Ventures, will be used to grow Signal’s team of data scientists, and further develop the platform ahead of a global launch. Continue reading

Posted in Funding, UK-Startups | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Car classifieds: Global success made in Berlin – an interview with Stefan Haubold (Carmudi)

Stefan Haubold_CarmudiCarmudi began the year with the launch of its iOS app, secured a $25 million round of funding, set a record of over 400,000 downloads and expanded into 20 countries. Pretty awesome start of the year, isn’t it?

Carmudi, which was founded in 2014, is a vehicle marketplace that offers buyers, sellers and car dealers the ideal platform to find cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles online.

Learn more about the young business that made it from Berlin to Asia and even further. We just did an interview with Stefan Haubold, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Carmudi. Continue reading

Posted in Germany-Startups, Interviews | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Online auction house Auctionata secures €42M and focus on sustainable growth

Auctionata-logo-2015The online auction house Auctionata completed its series C financing round with a total new investment of €42 million. The round is led by stock-listed MCI Management from Warsaw. Auctionata also welcomes Hearst Ventures from New York, leading growth investor Kreos Capital from London and Yuan Capital from Hong Kong as new investors. All existing investors participated in the round.

Auctionata brings the world of unique works of art, antiques and luxury collectibles to the internet via its frequent Continue reading

Posted in Funding, Germany-Startups | Tagged , , , | Comments Off