NMD Business Growth Programme

Case Study: David Ellison, VisitAR Guide

1. Describe your business

VisitAR Guides combines Augmented Reality and tourism to bring the local focal points of towns, cities and counties to life using your mobile phone – a tour guide that delivers information to visitors’ smartphones in a fun & interactive way.

Visitors can view local beauty spots thanks to our scenic drone footage and explore what there is to do and see in the area, making planning your visit much simpler.

The digital platform also allows tourism providers to showcase their service or facilities through video or promotion of special offers, in a localised and cost-effective way.

The VisitAR Guides also allow visitors and tourists to direct book, thus reducing advertising and promotional costs.

We want to support businesses in the tourism sector, social enterprise, SMEs and charities at home, that have been severely affected by Covid-19 by providing a free or affordable platform to promote their business.  We will be keen advocates in promoting ‘Staycations’ over the coming years.

2. What made you register for the NMD Business Growth programme?

I urgently needed help with a Tech Smart Concept+ Grant Application and was considering withdrawing the day before submission deadline – even though I know VisitAR is a great concept.  My confidence was suffering and I felt I could do with a hand. I could feel the effects of the COVID-19 Lockdown on my resilience.

The NMD Business Growth Programme was recommended to a mentor on the programme, so I registered.

3. Has the programme been beneficial to your business?

Very – It has been a game-changer.

I received a range of help from the NMD Business Growth Programme.

With the swift expert intervention of my mentor, we turned around the Tech Smart Application in 24-hours (via Zoom) and submitted an improved Application. It was successful and I was shortlisted to make a pitch to the Tech Smart panel!

My mentor helped me prepare a strong pitch which was submitted in advance of the deadline.

We prepared thoroughly for the Pitch – a tough but worthwhile experience!

When I made my pitch via Zoom to the Tech Smart panel, I was proud of the account I gave of VisitAR and of myself. I now have an excellent set of funding support materials that I can continue to improve and re-use.

The most important benefit of the NMD Business Growth Programme? I’m re-invigorated to make VisitAR a success.  I was ready to close the new venture due to lack of funding support. My personal investment was significant and this couldn’t continue.

4. What are the key learnings you have taken from the programme?

I learnt how best to prepare funding applications thoroughly, to present my business well and explain the benefits professionally.

The mentoring also gave me a real confidence boost and has encouraged me to take the business to the next level.

5. Has your company grown or identified new areas for growth through the programme?

Since making the Tech Start pitch a number of prospective deals and investor opportunities have appeared on the horizon.

I have also recognised even more potential in our concept and have recently agreed an outline deal with an investor to develop the technical element of the business. We are expecting our first prototype in the coming weeks and we couldn’t be more excited about it. 

6. Would you recommend the programme to other businesses?

I would unreservedly recommend the NMD Business Growth Programme. The expert one-to-one mentoring has been invaluable to me and I have benefited greatly. Regardless of the outcome of the Tech Smart grant application, I have renewed energy, more investors have been identified and I can see clearly the value of our nationally scalable concept.