Interview with Luca De Bellis, CEO of Garipalli

Interview with Luca De Bellis, CEO of Garipalli

May 9, 2022 By Rosy Chianese

Interview with Luca De Bellis, CEO of Garipalli, the startup created to raise awareness and enhance the cultural, artistic and social heritage of Italian cities.

Nowadays you have probably already heard about Escape Rooms, or maybe you have already done some, an activity that has become very popular in Italy and abroad. Now, however, imagine that you can live such an interactive gaming experience, with the difference that you will not be “closed” inside a room but inside a city, in the open air, where you will rediscover and live first-hand the stories that our cities have to tell. Wouldn’t it be the best? From today, however, we are not just talking about imagination but we can do it. How? With Garipalli!

What is Garipalli

Garipalli is an Italian startup that will make you live a gaming experience between virtual and real. Through an interactive chat on your phone you can begin to immerse yourself in an adventure that will project you in remote places of your city and in past eras. 

You will need to pay attention to every detail, every person and every prop, everything that can be useful to solve the puzzle of the game. Simply choose your City Escape to receive the game access link via email. 

It’s time to learn more about it, through the interview with Luca De Bellis, CEO of this fantastic startup.

Hi Luca, it’s a pleasure to meet you and thank you for your time. Tell us something more about Garipalli. How and when was the idea born?

The idea came to me in Korea while I was there for study and work reasons. At that time I was already coming from a long period spent abroad, about seven years, if we count the three spent in South Korea. At that time, as you can imagine, I was constantly meeting people from all over the world. I liked to ask about people’s trips to Italy and get to know the stories and opinions of those visiting from abroad. Unfortunately, over the years, I have started to notice that those who visit our cities stay for short periods of time and have very few opportunities or tools to discover or really know them. Almost all, when they come, all they do is ticking one by one monuments they set to visit. But our cities are much more than just lists of monuments. They have so much to tell. So I started to think about ways to tell the stories of our cities that could be engaging and interactive, so that those who visit them, even for a short time, can discover our destinations more closely. And what does everyone like? To play, to listen to stories. So I decided to develop a game to let people discover the stories of our cities and help them live such stories first hand. So I set myself to quickly finish my work commitments and return to Italy to execute my idea. 

How did you launch your startup? Did you use crowdfunding campaigns?

I knew one person alone would never make it if we think about the size of the project I had in mind. I knew that the first thing I needed to do was building a team. So I found team members specialized in IT (Information Technologies) and writing and/or storytelling. Once the  team was formed, I collected all the savings that I had, which at the time were very little, and, after a year of development while we were all working full-time elsewhere, we launched the first City Escape in Bergamo. For the launch we relied only on word of mouth and targeted ads on Google, Facebook and Instagram. The feedback was immediately strong and positive. So we started to gather more and more interest until, in addition to potential customers, we found an investor. His entrance allowed us to make the jump and today Garipalli is our full-time job.

What are currently the cities where people can play? 

Nowadays, 10 months after the launch in Bergamo, our City Escape are available in Bergamo, Milan, Venice, Florence, Brescia, Verona, and starting from next week also in Lucca, and, from the month of June, also in Bologna, Siena, Volterra, Padua and Pavia. 

How much time does the player have to solve the mystery?

The City Escapes are designed to help people get to know the cities and discover the most remote stories. For this reason they lack any time limit, just to allow users to play while enjoying the city and use it as their arena and not to perceive the rush of time. On average, however, I can tell you that it takes from 2 to 3 hours for each player to complete the experience. 

Any plans for the future?

By spring 2022 we want to have an average of 3 cities for each region of Italy. Next summer, however, we would like to launch the first of a long (hopefully) series of City Escape abroad; first in Europe, and then more and more distant.

Some curiosity about the final choice of your name?

Since the idea came while I was in Korea, but I had always thought of it as a project that I would launch in Italy, I wanted a name that would reflect this. So I took the first part of Garibaldi -Gari, and attached a Korean word -Ppalli, which translates roughly into “fast”, “immediately”, “rapidly” at the end of it. So the “hidden” message that I wanted it to send was that Garipalli and our City Escapes help you rediscover Italy, its cities and their stories, from the first moment you start playing. 

Credits: 

https://garipalli.com/

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