ST. LOUIS — Moving to a new city can be daunting, but St. Louis-based startup Dimensions wants to make the process easier for those new to town.
Led by CEO Julian Keaton, Dimensions has developed an interactive geolocation mobile game — one that uses a geographic location to access certain information — designed to introduce college students and transplants to their new city and to create engagement with longer-term residents and organizations. The game features experiences that highlight the culture, service providers and history of a community.
“On one level, it’s helping people get acclimated and get familiar with new cities and communities and build their personal and professional network," Keaton said. On the flip side, the game also addresses the issue of people not engaging with their community, he said.
Keaton began Dimensions as a side project as part of another business he operates, and it has since turned into a full-fledged company. He said the startup plans to launch its beta version in November and is targeting next year for the launch of its full version. Dimensions aims to use technology to give residents a voice in their community and its development. That’s a mission born out of his experience growing up and living in disinvested communities, Keaton said.
“Most technology supports people and communities that are already flourishing rather than to pour investments or resources into communities and people that need it,” he said.
The technology: Dimensions is an interactive geolocation mobile game designed to introduce college students and transplants to their new city and to foster civic engagement with longer-term residents and organizations. The game features custom and prepackaged geolocation experiences that highlight the culture, service providers and history of a community. It includes scavenger hunts, choose your own adventure experiences and community gatherings.
How it makes money: Dimensions is a “freemium” game that includes four core streams of revenue:
- Enterprise licenses purchased by college and university stakeholders, nonprofits and employers.
- Monthly subscriptions from end users.
- Community events where game users, or as the startup calls them "seekers," can come together, in person or virtually, to play in a specific neighborhood or experience.
- Geo-advertising fees. These fees will be generated from the game challenges that end users will complete.
Size of the market: Dimensions says it is a two-sided platform that serves game users, as well as small businesses, community and economic development organizations, nonprofits, and large institutions. Over the next four years, the startup plans to expand to four cities annually, which will increase the serviceable market by 42 million people each year.
Competition/competitive advantage: The startup said there are other games in its space, including Pokemon Go and Let’s Roam, but contends what makes Dimensions unique is its ability to analyze and optimize data points that are relevant for smarter economic development and equitable civic engagement. A core component of the game centers around geocaching game challenges that ask the community what they would like to see developed in their neighborhood. This is designed to give the community a voice and provide developers and city planners insight on how to grow the community equitably, the startup said.
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