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This US start-up is here to add a virtual reality touch to Australian tourist sites


The first international start-up to benefit from the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Hot DesQ initiative has arrived in the state, selecting QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) as its host.

Tourism-focused virtual reality (VR) platform, TimeLooper, recently won a $50,000 grant from Hot DesQ to extend its operations to Queensland, following its participation at New York’s TechCrunch Disrupt event in May.

TimeLooper selected CEA from the 13 Queensland Government approved Hosts via the Advance Queensland Hot DesQ program, due to its network strength in the creative tech communities, its link to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the facilities available through its extensive networks.

The Hot DesQ initiative is part of the $405 million whole-of-government Advance Queensland agenda providing a suite of programs to support the growth of start-ups and business, and increase innovation activity and venture capital investment.

This Australian-first Hot DesQ program is modelled on successful international programs such as Startup Chile, which has been running since 2010, and the French Tech Ticket launched just last year.

What comes of this partnership?

CEA will host TimeLooper for a six month period, helping the team to connect to the local start-up networks, provide access to mentors and its onsite coworking space, The Coterie, business advice, access to its incubator masterclass program, exposure at Creative3 and other levels of support required to accelerate the growth of the platform.

CEO of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, Anna Rooke, said, “We are thrilled that TimeLooper has selected CEA as its inaugural Australian host. We are passionate about supporting start-ups in the creative tech space and are excited to help accelerate its development and growth in the APAC market.

“Creative tech is contributing hugely to economies overseas, so we’re looking forward to leveraging the skills and network that TimeLooper will, in return, bring to Queensland, and indeed Australia, through its work in our market,” added Ms Rooke.

Commenting on the relocation to Queensland, COO of TimeLooper, Andrew Feinberg, said: “When considering expansion beyond London and New York, we sought a market with a robust tourism ecosystem, rich pool of talent, and proximity to the booming APAC region.

“Queensland provides each of the above in abundance and the Hot DesQ program does a wonderful job of bringing the pieces together in an attractive manner. Advance Queensland has clearly done its homework in developing a highly compelling value proposition for emerging companies,” added Mr Feinberg.

Prash Lagisetti (Timelooper), Professor Carol Dickenson (Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of QUT), Minister Leeanne Enoch (Advance Queensland), Andrew Feinberg (Timelooper), Anna Rooke (CEO of CEA)
Prash Lagisetti (Timelooper), Professor Carol Dickenson (Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of QUT), Minister Leeanne Enoch (Advance Queensland), Andrew Feinberg (Timelooper), Anna Rooke (CEO of CEA) PHOTO CREDIT: Jared Vethaak Photography

How exactly does Timelooper work?

The TimeLooper platform enables users to experience and re-live unforgettable moments in history through their smartphones in 3D reality – such as the 1940 London Blitz.

The app is proving to be an ideal travel companion for tourists visiting monumental landmarks around the world, transporting them back through time, from the Great Fire of London to the V-J Day ‘kiss’ in Times Square.

Speaking on the first international startup to arrive in Queensland via the $8 million Hot DesQ program, Innovation Minister, Leeanne Enoch, welcomed TimeLooper to the  so called Startup State.

“TimeLooper’s tourism focus makes them an ideal first recipient of a Hot DesQ grant,” Ms Enoch explained, “Hot DesQ is designed to attract established startups from across the country and around the globe to Queensland to develop their ideas at one of 13 locations right around the state.

“The company’s arrival in Queensland will provide wonderful collaborative opportunities for the state’s tourism sector and this innovative company will inject exciting new talent into Queensland’s dynamic start-up culture.”

“We’ve only just touched down in Queensland but already we’re excited to get out there and see which local heritage sites would create a memorable VR experience. Currently, we’re really interested in scoping out South Bank, Story Bridge and Brisbane Powerhouse as possible locations. Each one has a unique place in Brisbane’s history and we feel could make a perfect contribution to the Timelooper offerings,” Mr Feinberg told Anthill.