Learning about Cities by Listening to Their Stories

»Innoviation is the Combination of Technology and Content.« Lydia Horn, Founder of mobile melting GmbH

Foto: Volker Döring

Ghost stories from Prenzlauer Berg, city tours through the Mitte borough of Berlin or a detective story from Frankfurt; with the Storytude app, people have these experiences while they are visiting such cities.

It is all quite simple. Just download the desired tour to a smart phone. The historical characters will then guide people to the sites.

The cell phone’s GPS system and a digital map of the city help with orientation. At the appropriate sites, the phone will vibrate and the next chapter will start. This always keeps the users in the middle of the story.

“My two co-founders had the idea”, says Lydia Horn, Managing Director. “I didn’t quite understand the whole thing until they programmed a prototype. It was a story about the Rotes Rathaus [Red City Hall] and I thought it was totally cool. If something like this can please a techno-phob like me then it’s a great idea.” With the idea, the three applied for and got an EXIST stipend for business startups. Successfully.

Mobile melting was established in 2009 to offer various technical solutions for on-site entertainment and information. Ms. Horn quit her marketing job at an airline company. “I had to consider it because I hadn’t been with the company too long and everything was moving quickly. However, I had always been interested in the new things, because I really like that.” With their Storytude.com as their primary product, mobile melting has been offering city tours and guided listening tours for the growing market of smart phones since May.
Speaking statistically, roughly one quarter of all cell phone owners use smart phone, which supplement the features of the cell phone with addtional computer programs: so-called applications (or apps), and this tendency is increasing.

Classic travel guides and audio guides are becoming superfluous. “Innoviation is the combination of technology and content”, explains Ms. Horn. “In this, our biggest advantage is that people always have their cell phones with them and can download the apps at any time.

We simply need to make people more aware of our existence. That is the major challenge that we need to work on.” Mobile melting has already convinced the jury for the Degewo Founder’s Award, which paid for a year’s rental of office spaces on Uhlandstraße Street.

“We were quite happy about that, especially because of the central location and because good partners and customers can be invited to this impressive address”, says Lydia Horn. In the future, mobile melting really wants to offer more tours. Developing into the gaming and interactive markets might also be a consideration. Thereby, people could determine the story sequence as they tour the various locations.

Bettina Tacke
Kluge Köpfe 2011