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Techcrunch Interviews: Timelooper takes You Back in Time

Timelooper media jobs

If you’re looking for a virtual reality media job and you are a history buff then Timelooper could be the place for you.

Travel back 750 years of more using this new mobile app from Timelooper.  Timelooper is a location based virtual reality mobile application created to provide more dimensions to your travel.  In the UK experience the German bombers from World War 2 or witness the great fire of London.

Virtual Reality technology seems to be developing faster than the programming for it.  Timelooper makes deals with locations and venues to bring their stories to life.    The monetization is obvious.  You’ve got to pay to play but the possibilities are endless.

While the Timelooper folks are looking forward to putting together partnerships with the great historic landmarks from around the world, I see the opportunity to be much larger.  Imaging going to a location in New York, Los Angeles or anywhere and being able to experience the the great fire of London or the colonists landing at Battery Park in New York.

Currently available at some locations in London, Timelooper is expected to open in New York in 2016.

I was able to talk with Alper Ozyurtlu, the Chief Creative Officer for Timelooper recently and he told me all about the business.


Roy: Hi, this is Roy Weissman from MediaJobs.com. We’re talking with Alper Ozyurtlu, the Chief Creative Officer for Timelooper. What is Timelooper and how did you come up with this idea?


Alper: Timelooper is a location-based virtual reality application and platform. We create a virtual reality content for important historical places. We recreate the most memorable moments of these places in the history. If you’re in the Trafalgar Square, you can watch our blitz video. German bombers in the blitz in the World War 2. You can just witness the great fire of London in 1666 in St. Paul’s Cathedral.


Roy: Wait a second, so if I go to St. Paul’s Cathedral today and I’m standing there. All of a sudden it’s going to go on fire?


Alper: Yes, but it’s not in a bad way. You will just witness how was it and you will see people just trying to extinguish their homes. You will see really good historical research. You will really experience how it was to be in that particular moment.


Roy: If I go to the coliseum, I might get involved with a battle?


Alper: Yeah, I think so.


Roy: Will I be safe?


Alper: Yes, extremely.


Roy: Now, what technology do you use to display your program?


Alper: Basically, we are a mobile app. You will be using your mobile phone. Preferably, with a cardboard, which makes it a more immersive experience. Of course, it’s not a must. You just download our app. All the videos are geo-locked, so you have to be there in order to watch the video. We’re beta launched in London 6 months ago. Now, we’re preparing to launch in new cities. Also, we’re making this platform more of an ecosystem. We’re gathering post-production and production companies with historical sites together to use this as a platform. If Ellis Island wants to make some kind of video productions in virtual reality, we can provide our own production, or we can just get them together with production companies so they can work on their own business model like paid packages or revenue sharing. It depends on both parties.


Roy: In essence, you’re creating a production for each specific location. London is your first city. So example of what areas of London, if I went, would I be able to see this?


Alper: If you will be in Trafalgar Square, you can witness the German bombers bombing the London in Blitz. In St. Paul’s cathedral, you can see all these Tudorian buildings burning in 1666 great fire of London. In tower of London, you can witness medieval times in 1255. In Tower Bridge, you can witness the great fire of London in a crow’s nest of a ship.


Roy: Do people have to pay for this? What is your revenue model?


Alper: Basically, we use different models depending on the sites and the places. For example, all of our London videos are free now, but the Tower Bridge video, you have to be in the museum to watch it because it’s geo-locked by the location and the height of the bridge. You have to get in the museum in order to watch this particular video.


Roy: Are you getting a percentage of the door on this?


Alper: It really depends on the parties, as I said. If they want, we can create a movie. We can sell it and we can make a revenue sharing. Or, they can give us or any other production company in our network. They can pay and get the video. If they want, they can give it free or make it a paid package.


Roy: Do you envision using this other than locations? Do you envision using this technology for any other applications?


Alper: We made some partnership with CNN lately for their new series, 80s. We created 3 videos with them. John Lennon after his death. One is challenger disaster, and one is fall of Berlin Wall. This is another application area of the videos we create.


Roy: For CNN, how would I see that? Would I see it on your app or on CNN?


Alper: It was a corporation. You can watch the videos both on our app and CNN’s own app or their website.


Roy: Do you envision more of these partnerships?


Alper: Yes, exactly. For example, we are preparing to make a partnership with Google Expeditions. Our content depends on very accurate historical research so it can be used as education material also.


Roy: You could see yourself in the educational market too?


Alper: I guess so, yeah.


Roy: He says that carefully.


Alper: I guess so, yeah.


Roy: When was this business founded?


Alper: Company? Basically, we were working on these virtual reality technologies and developments and visual effects techniques for a long time. Lately, it’s been 8 months or something. I don’t remember.


Roy: There’s 4 founders?


Alper: 3 founders.


Roy: 3 founders. What are the names and what are the roles?


Alper: Our CEO is Yigit Yigiter. He’s our CEO. He came up with this brilliant idea. This was his dream. We didn’t came up with what’s to do in virtual reality. He’s my long-term friend from my high school. This was his dream. He’s a very interesting guy. He’s a traveler. Why you always just see the ruins? Why can’t we just see the history? He came up with the idea. I am just the chief creative officer. I help him to build his dream. Also, we have a chief operating officer, Andrew Feinberg. He is Yigit’s friend from Harvard Business School. I think we formed a very good team and doing very well for now.


Roy: Where are you guys based?


Alper: We are based in New York. Here.


Roy: In New York? Are you originally from New York?


Alper: Me? No. We have one partner originally from New York.


Roy: Your next expansion, is that going to be in the US or other places?


Alper: Basically, we are on battlefield and we will be presenting tomorrow on stage. I want to keep it for tomorrow.


Roy: Have you raised money so far?


Alper: We closed seed funding. Yes.


Roy: You’re looking to raise more money?


Alper: For now, no.


Roy: No? You’re just looking to get popular?


Alper: Yes, we want to get well-known and we want published.


Roy: Do you have more partnerships on the fire you can talk about?


Alper: Partnerships? I think not yet. Of course, there are a lot of partnership deals going on, but there are no one that I can talk now.


Roy: How would you define the market for your product? Obviously, it’s not travel per say, because you’re not selling hotel rooms. How would you define the market, how big do you think the market is?


Alper: Basically, market is solvent. The market is real big. If you take top 100 sites in the world, which are visited every year, it’s visited by 1 billion people. Just 100 sites. The market is interesting because when you create content, it’s evergreen. Every year these 1 billion people and every new people coming here will be witnessing this moment, it will be so new to them. It’s an expanding market because travelers every year are expanding still. If you just cover 100 spots in the world, you will be covering 1 billion travelers.


Roy: Do you envision that this will always be locked at the location? Or will I be able to see it at home?


Alper: It really depends on the site. If it’s gated or public, site has to decide itself. For example, we had some open content for London just to use for a trailer. Other ones will be geo-locked, we don’t want to spoil tourism. We want to help support the tourism industry.


Roy: Right now, is the app on Android and iOS.


Alper: Both Android and iOS.


Roy: Is there a cost to download that app and use it?


Alper: No, all our videos are free now.


Roy: All your videos are free. Is your eventual plan to be charging the consumer or charging the venue?


Alper: It really is, as I said, we are transitioning to becoming a platform. This will not be our call. This will be all the sites call to do it freely or paid packages.


Roy: How many people are at your company now?


Alper: It depends because we have 3 cofounders. We have some employees. Since we are making big productions, international productions, in every production, it depends on the production. We have big production teams, post-production teams. We have an in house VFX team, which also supports all our partners with our knowledge and learnings.


Roy: Full-time employees are how many?


Alper: Full-time employees. 3 full-time employees and 3 co-founders.


Roy: Are you looking to hire more employees?


Alper: Yeah.


Roy: What kind of people?


Alper: Both city and community managers and production specialists and visual effects and VR specialists.


Roy: The city managers are going out to get more business, more venues and things?


Alper: Yes, exactly.


Roy: That sounds great. Is there anything you want to add, Alper, about Timelooper that I haven’t asked? The secret sauce? Why you’re going to be the next billion dollar company?


Alper: I think what makes us different in the virtual reality ecosystem … we did not come up with “Let’s do something with virtual reality.” I think that we as Timelooper just fill a gap in tourism. That’s what makes us different.


Roy: That sounds great. That sounds very exciting. The next time I go to the coliseum, I have to bring my helmet so I can be prepared.


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