Books are not what they used to be and no, we are not talking about Facebook! You can get them in any kind of format, on your phone, Kindle, on demand from Amazon on the next day. What we are really missing though is the real connection between the book and the reader. We need a further proof of authenticity from the author, to step in the characters’ shoes, to go to Amazon jungle, or Paris, or Tokyo together. This is where Squirl comes in handy – bridging the gap between the books and the real world.
Squirl is one of the finalists from the Get in the Ring Global Final 15/16. Almost a year later we meet with Jef Van der Avoort to tell us how Squirl changed the way we find new books and how they brought it to a whole new level.
REMIND US HOW IT WORKS
Squirl is the first location-based book discovery app. With the Squirl app, you bump into real world settings from captivating novels, life changing biographies, and thrilling mysteries. Based on your reader profile, a notification pops up on your phone when you pass by a location from a book you might like. You can then read the excerpt, look around you, feel the vibe and smell the air. A crime scene or a romantic rendezvous, you are standing right in the middle of the action! Because of this engagement with the content you are much more likely to click through to buy the book on Amazon or iBooks. People are also able to check-in to the literary location, leave a comment, subscribe to the author, book or character. Authors and publishers can add their books and locations through their freemium online author tool.
SQUIRL VS POKEMON GO
Ever since the Global Final Squirl was trying to fine tune their story. People were still confused about the concept behind the startup because they didn’t have any references – is it an online library or a bookshop? As Pokemon Go became viral people got a feeling of what augmenting the world is. The startup used this momentum to put the word out there. Squirl is providing a book discovery but it is so much more than that – it is a feeling of authenticity. You can go around the city, walk into beautiful buildings and find stories inside! Squirl is putting an augmented story layer on top of the world. In the past months, the startup was recognized more and more by the readers.
“A few months ago a friend of mine was on a plane and he was telling a bit about us, what we do and so on, and then the other person said, ‘Oh Squirl! Yes, I know it! It is great to hear that people are really getting to know us.”
PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
Squirl already has 3000 users and 1500 literary locations that grew organically. They are ready with the Squirl app but will need an investment push to grow it to its full potential. Currently, they are working on creating a literary map of the books on their location-based book discovery app. After that, all they have to do is convert this database to an augmented reality platform. As Apple and Google are building the hardware, Squirl will focus on building, what they call the augmented story layer. The startup has a long-term vision of AR’s potential:
“Everyone is now working with VR, but specialists expect that by 2020 the AR turnover is 4 times as large as the VR sales”
Seems like the startup is on the right track.
WHAT WAS GET IN THE RING FOR YOU?
“What is so beautiful in what you do is that you come in contact with startups from around the world with exactly the same struggles. It doesn’t matter whether they come from the US, London or Sudan. I have never seen another competition like this one. A great concept that is truly global.”
Squirl is ready to give you the best augmented reality experience. The app is available worldwide focussing mainly on English language books, but soon Squirl will introduce other languages as well. What the team needs is people who want to help with the AR solution and implementation. So If you are passionate about AR or you want to invest in AR, contact us and we will get you through!