Alexander KarpovPress Photo
Imagine yourself in the year
Sounds like a scene from a movie? Well, now it’s as real as it can get thanks to A/Maze, one of the first real-life escape room game companies to appear in Canada, offering unique and immersive adventures to thrillseekers.
Owned by Alexander Karpov, a Russian who moved across the Atlantic 11 years ago, A/Maze was founded in 2014 – at a time when escape room games were already big in Russia but still not mainstream in Canada. Depending on the season, A/Maze welcomes from 800 to 2,000 players weekly and offers a variety of escape room scenarios, from highly popular prison breaks and
“We started building our first escape room when no one was on the market. Our first competitor appeared on the scene during the period of our construction and we launched our businesses within two weeks of each other,” Karpov recalls.
Now, four years later, there are 20 companies that his company competes
“In 2014 during a trip to
Over the next two
The first location in Montreal during and after construction.Press Photo
It didn’t play out without problems, of course. Prior to the launch, the firm faced unplanned expenditures and had to resort to crowdfunding on Kickstarter, which wasn’t successful. “We asked for $10,000 but only got $2,500,” he recalls.
Besides, just a month before the launch, the team found out that another offline escape room project was opening in Montreal. “We even received an offer to buy our project, for 10 times the money we spent on the launch. We hesitated but in the
After getting a bank loan for $10,000 Karpov’s team launched their first location and didn’t plan to start an aggressive marketing strategy. It was only in March 2015 when they ran a promo in a local blog for $1,000 which resulted in a huge wave of interest that even shut down their website.
By gradually building brand awareness, growing a range of escape room scenarios, and expanding to new locations A/Maze has managed to reach the top of the industry in Canada. Now Karpov’s venture works in six locations across the country (one in Ottawa and Calgary and four in Montreal), plus two locations in Guatemala where they launched in 2017.
“A few years ago I was approached by a person who wanted to start an escape room company in Central America. He was from Guatemala, studied in France, lived in Montreal for some time, and then decided to come back to his home country and start a business,” Alexander remembers. “
According to Karpov, December 2018 has been the best month for A/Maze since its inception and the team is planning to open
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