App-based Adventure Race: How It Started

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Cyburban was inspired by a 15-second teaser for the first season of The Amazing Race. At that time, I was working for a bank in a department that was implementing mobile Internet banking on WAP technology. I immediately made the connection, and thought it would be really cool to join an adventure race that used mobile technology. But, that was 2001 and practically nobody was using WAP.

Fast forward to 2008, I organized my first urban race for the anniversary of my mountaineering group. Everyone wanted to participate. Nobody wanted to help me staff, so I cooked up the idea of putting the clues online. After each checkpoint, the teams had to look for an Internet shop, go to our group’s website, and answer the questions based on the completed tasks before they get the next clue. 12 teams with 3 members each had so much fun that they keep asking for another race each year.

I kept waiting for an app to make it easier to organize. In 2013, we decided to build it ourselves.

The initial focus was adventure races, but event organizer friends kept bugging us to create mini-games for their varied events. Having the technology to do it anyway, we helped our friends and found a huge market in the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events) industry.

What started as a way to celebrate with my outdoorsy friends has become a way to spread the spirit of fun and adventure across different groups of people. It’s an exciting time to start playing with friends in the real world again. Game on!

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