What makes historical sites and areas significant isn’t generally just what you see at face value. Where pamphlets and audio tours fall short is in truly conveying the deep history that lends significance to these locations.
TimeLooper, launching today onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s Startup Battlefield, is looking to give tourists and visitors deeper historical insights into locations via virtual reality. The service, which uses the Google Cardboard smartphone VR platform, has previously been building up content for London, but will be launching its services today in New York City at some of the major tourist sites, including Times Square, Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, Federal Hall and Dakota.
COO Andrew Feinberg wants TimeLooper to be the app that “collects the most amazing moments in history.”
The experience is geofenced, which seems a bit odd, considering you have to actually be at the geographic location to experience that geographical location virtually. But Feinberg said this was done with the intent of more closely aligning the location with its virtual history, which you can’t do from your couch.
One way to think about the service is as the 21st century update to the museum audio tours of old. TimeLooper doesn’t just want to add context, but also a highly visual narrative that recounts the past in a virtual reality setting.
TimeLooper is operating as a one-stop-shop at the moment, utilizing the $2 million it raised from Rothenberg Ventures earlier this year to seek out customers and produce VR content in-house for them.
“We can use VR to help people immerse themselves at these distinct historic locations and relive the most important moments that happened there,” Feinberg said.
The particularly advantageous situation that TimeLooper has set itself up in involves targeting consumers when their wallets are most vulnerable. Here, the tourists have just dropped hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket and hotel, they’ve already bought the $9 large bottled water and now they’re preparing to unload their wallets on the general admission tickets, so what’s tossing in a few more bucks to up the experience?