Having carved out a niche in the Stockholm tourism and events market, two Australians are now expanding their city experience game, the 100 Point Challenge, around the world.
Described as a race, a game, and a quiz, the 100 Point Challenge is a two-hour, adrenaline-fuelled, city exploration game, with participants racing against the clock to solve a series of challenges, navigating their way around the city and collecting points as they go, with the ultimate aim being to score 100 points.
The 100 Point Challenge is currently operating in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam, with plans to launch in Sydney shortly.
Australian co-founders Dan Paech and Anna Millan met by chance on a kayaking trip in the Stockholm archipelago in 2017. Paech, living in Stockholm since 2014, was running the 100 Point Challenge on his own when he met Millan, an Australian-qualified lawyer. After moving to Stockholm with her partner, she knew she would be in a difficult position regarding work, with her qualifications and experience not easily transferable to Sweden.
“Initially, the plan wasn’t necessarily to stay long term, and given the differences in legal system and the fact that I didn’t speak Swedish, I knew it would be hard to find a similar job. It was an opportunity to do something different, though I had no idea what that would look like. I definitely didn’t expect to meet a fellow Australian and start working in an events start-up.” says Millan.
In the summer of 2017, Paech was juggling multiple work projects, and as the 100 Point Challenge was growing, was in need of some help. He asked Millan if she would be interested working together, which initially took the form of a discrete project, to design a Christmas-themed challenge in Stockholm.
“The prospect was initially very daunting” says Millan. “ I had literally been living in Sweden for a few months, and designing creative events didn’t exactly come up in my day-to-day as a family and criminal lawyer.”
Paech wasn’t worried, he knew it was possible to be a foreigner and to learn about a city’s culture and history, as he’d already done it himself. After arriving in Stockholm in 2014 on a work assignment in his former role as a health economist, he began a small side business that combined two passions- running and travel. As a tour guide, Paech met up with people from abroad and showed them around Stockholm while running.
“When I started Run With Me I was more interested in city exploration, fitness and meeting people, but I quickly realised visitors also expected me to be able to identify every building in Stockholm, and teach them Swedish history.”
During his time as a guide he became immersed in the city, and discovered he knew its hidden corners better than many of his Swedish friends.
“I often talked about where I was taking people and what I was showing them, and people would tell me they’d like to see those places, but were not runners”, says Paech.
So he decided to create something for locals keen to explore Stockholm in an active way, that didn’t involve running.
“People are always looking for new experiences, and a lot of people don’t know much about where they live. I wanted a fun way for people to engage with their own city, and with each other”.
“I decided on a game, and I wanted it to be outdoors, active, social, fun, and educational. Being a competitive person myself, I also wanted there to be an element of competition,” says Paech.
In April 2016 he trialled the first version of the 100 Point Challenge with a group of friends, giving it a Swedish name, “hundrapoängsjakten” (“one hundred point hunt”). While testing the game he learnt a few things.
“I realised I had made it too hard, with both teams scoring just over 50 out of 100 points, and that there was large variation in people’s levels of knowledge about the city in which they live. ”
Taking some feedback and these learnings on board, he went back and refined the game. The team have now settled on three different challenges in every city, one for tourists and two specifically targeted to locals. They also introduced Polaroid cameras to the game, which proved a popular addition and is now one of the game’s best selling points.
“We tried giving people Polaroid cameras instead of letting them use their phones, and people really liked that idea. They think it’s nice to have a more tangible memory, something to put on the fridge” says Paech.
The game has evolved a lot since inception, with multiple iterations of the game design and materials. Paech gives a lot of credit to Millan for this, bringing fresh ideas and a polish to a game that was “a bit rough around the edges”.
Although the business is still in its infancy, the game has proven a success in Sweden, with people enjoying a mix of challenge and adventure, and the opportunity to learn and socialise with friends and colleagues as they move around the city.
Being originally from the corporate world themselves, the pair have especially enjoyed working in the company team building space, and have attracted some high profile clients, including Air France, PWC, Volvo, Boston Consulting Group and Booking.com. They have also worked with international sports teams, recently hosting the New Jersey Devils NHL team on a trip to Gothenburg.
With five cities now on the map, the team are focused on growth and development in their existing locations, as well as new destinations. In the end, Paech and Millan both credit circumstance, curiosity, a unique blend of skills, and a lot of hard work for their initial successes.
“As a former litigator, strategy excites me, and I think the skills of running a legal matter translate well into running a business” says Millan. She also credits Paech’s leadership and vision as CEO- “He is a natural-born entrepreneur, with a rare ability to create opportunities and learn new skills. If you can think it, Dan can get it done. ”
Although Paech and Millan are the only two people working full time in the business, the 100 Point Challenge is more than just two people, with 16 staff employed across five cities.
“Without the dedication and passion of our challenge leaders it wouldn’t be possible to run this business in multiple cities.” said Paech.
With further city launches planned, the 100 Point Challenge is looking to become the go to company for outdoor group activities in cities around the world.