|25 Dec 2017|
|WM Winter 2017 edition|
WM: Sebastian, long time no see or hear, how are things?
SV: Hello there, things are just great, thank you very much. It is my pleasure to be here and be a part of this endeavor.
WM: Tell us about what you've been up to since graduating from AISB?
SV: Well, rst of all, I've been enjoying myself, I was blessed with parents who taught me to have a healthy balance between work and a social life. But, of course, I passed the age where I could just enjoy myself a while ago and I started being interested in opening some businesses. My first endeavor was an IT company, after this, my father asked me to co-own a restaurant with some acquaintances of his and lastly, and the most visible one, is an escape room brand.
WM: Why did you choose to stay in Romania vs. pursuing a college degree abroad?
SV: I will answer this as directly and honestly as possible. The life I have here could not compare to any life I would have had living alone in a foreign country.
WM: Tell us about Breakout.
SV: Breakout is an Escape Room company that I co-founded in 2014 which develops and sells escape games. These are basically rooms where groups of 2-6 players are locked in a room and they need to solve a series of challenges, puzzles and riddles to escape. They are designed for a mature audience, so the games are relatively di cult and require a lot of collaboration and teamwork.
We started the business in Bucharest with only two rooms but quickly expanded our rst location to four rooms and soon afterwards started selling our products and services to clients abroad. Since then, we have sold room concepts to other cities in Romania, Belgrade and Amsterdam, and in February this year we opened our own venue in London, UK, which has 8 rooms running. The business is still growing and we are looking for new opportunities to expand and sell our brand as a Franchise and we are now in talks with several parties that would be interested in partnering up.
WM: Why did you choose London?
SV: We chose London because it is a very large cosmopolitan city where people are very outgoing and interested in new activities
to spend their free time. In this business, it is very important that you have a large market to address, as these types of games can only be played once because afterwards you will know the solution to the puzzles. In some aspects, it is very similar to going to see a play or a movie, just that in this case you interact directly with the environment and you are part of the story.
London is also a good choice for expansion due to the meteorological aspect. Yes, you read that correctly; weather plays a very important role as this type of business is perfect in colder and rainier climates where people are more inclined towards indoor activities.
Lastly, we chose London because we researched the market before deciding and we played several games which were on o er there and we considered our product to be of a superior quality.
WM: What are some of the biggest challenges you faced starting o and how did you overcome them? And what about some of the most rewarding things about what you do?
SV: Challenges were everywhere. It was a newly started business and there was a lack of information on all fronts. We basically had to gure everything out on our own which led to much higher costs than expected. As for the rewards, they are everywhere, but by far the most rewarding aspect has to be the reactions of people when they play our rooms.
WM: In what ways are you looking to develop in the next year?
SV: We just opened an escape room in London six months ago and it was a huge endeavor. Next year is too soon to think of something new, but we do plan to open two more escape rooms, one in the US and one in Asia.
WM: What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own business in the entertainment/gaming sector?
SV: The most important advice I would give people is to not use very much emotion and personal xations on di erent matters. Although it is a creative business, it should be treated as any other nancial endeavor.
WM: What is your favorite high school memory from AISB?
SV: I don't have one favorite memory of AISB, but the best times that I had were the school trips from each start of the year. Nothing compared with the fun we had on those trips and all the connections we formed between each other.