While still in the middle of the summer, we are all dreaming about our next holidays’ destination, will it be by the sea, on the mountain or maybe a city trip? Many factors can play an important role when deciding our next holidays’ destination and the cultural interest, yarns and anecdotes about the place are one of the top ones. Fergal Nealon an Irish entrepreneur who saw that plenty of stories and memories were being lost with the people who lived them, decided in 2017 to found StoryTracks, an app that provides a unique customer experience, bringing local areas to life through an innovative platform.
Fergal Nealon had the opportunity to meet EBN Members during the EBN TechCamp in Toulon (27-28 June 2019). Under the framework of CAST Bootcamp (co-funded by COSME), Fergal had the opportunity to benefit greatly from a masterclass in pitching/storytelling by Peter Lazou, and he started to make connections with other startups and EBN Members participating at the event. Let's discover Fergal Nealon and StoryTracks story
EBN: How did you come up with the idea of creating StoryTracks?
F.N.: The first real exposure, I had to collect stories, was during my time back home in Sligo, Ireland. At that time, I worked alongside my late father, Ted Nealon, on the compilation and editing of ‘Tales from the Dail Bar’, his collection of yarns and anecdotes, from his career in broadcasting and politics. When he passed away five years ago, so many great tales went with him. Such is the case, multiplied across the country and indeed the world where stories lay dormant, gathering dust, perhaps lost to local memory forever. This was the initial inspiration behind StoryTracks, a user-friendly means to capture and preserve local stories in an engaging digital platform.
EBN: How did you go from the idea of preserving local stories to connect this to the tourism sector?
F.N.: To make StoryTrack platform sustainable, we obviously needed to connect to a market which could use these great stories and the Tourism/Travel sector was a natural fit. Our research shows us that amongst the top trended needs in travel today for visitors is the ability to self-discover authentic stories on mobile devices. There is a real disconnect between visitors and travel brands once in-destination. We provide a highly immersive, engaging and authentic means of digital engagement, connecting visitors back to travel brands as they explore a destination.
EBN: WestBIC is one of the oldest EBN Members, they joined the network in May 1989 as full member and since then they have had a great impact in the region providing support to entrepreneurs like you. Within EBN, the former CEO of WestBIC was one of EBN's presidents, and the current CEO, John Brennan, is very active in the Special Interest Group of Internationalisation. How and when did you hear about EBN Member WestBIC and CAST Network?
F.N.: Due to our sustainable tourism remit, interlinked with culture and creativity, we were approached by WestBIC, who would be our regional EU|BIC, to take part in the CAST network project (www.castnetwork.eu) and the bootcamp organised at the EBN TechCamp in Toulon, France in June 2019.
The came at the right timing, we were at early commercialisation stage when we become a WestBIC client. We needed assistance in adjusting our business model to find the perfect product/market fit. We also required mentorship on our investor pitches and cash flow projections.
EBN: Have you received any help regarding your investment needs?
F.N.: Yes, we have arranged follow up meetings with John Brennan and Helena Deane from WestBIC who will be supporting the refinement of our messaging, pitch deck and cashflow statements for our investment round.
We also hope to connect with investors through the CAST Network project.
EBN: Would you recommend to other entrepreneurs to seek the help of EU|BICs?
F.N.: Yes, they are a great resource for entrepreneurs. The resources and expertise they have in-house is fantastic plus the ability to connect large pan-European network is invaluable to startups. Equity free as well is always good!
EBN: What are the awards and recognitions received so far?
F.N.: Featured on Silicon Republic 's 'Start-up of the Week', Nominated for Best Entrepreneurial Tourism Innovation at Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2019, Winner Top 10 E.U Startup at the Startup Lighthouse Awards 2019, Featured in Top 100 Irish Startups- Sunday Business Post/Enterprise Ireland, featured as EBN (European Business Network) Entrepreneur of the Month (August 2019).
EBN: What is the near future for StoryTracks?
F.N.: Very exciting times for StoryTracks as we have just signed a contract to provide our mobile platform to the first Hyatt hotel to come to Ireland, this deal will also see us produces the platform for a Sheraton hotel- to have two major global hotel brands on our books is a major endorsement for our product at this stage.
Moving forward we are currently raising seed funding which will allow us to scale our services quickly, flesh the team out with Sales/marketing departments and work on our next product iteration which will see us integrating AR to the platform- something we are very excited about!
Interested in supporting and investing in StoryTrack? Contact Fergal Nealon, StoryTrack’s CEO and Founder
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