20.3.21
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Anneli Xie

The StoryTourist Story: From the Creative Business Cup to a Successful International Enterprise

In 2019, Johanna Forsman and Andreas Jansson of StoryTourist won the Swedish Creative Business Cup. At the Global CBC, they championed their category. We talk with Forsman to talk CBC, StoryTourist, and the importance of cultural entrepreneurship.


StoryTourist is the brainchild of Johanna Forsman, a Malmöite with a passion for literature and storytelling. Described as an app with “self-guided walking tours for famous stories,” StoryTourist blends reality, fiction, and history to create immersive literary experiences right at your fingertips. For instance, imagine solving crimes with Sherlock Holmes in London, exploring the deep sea with The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, or stepping into Hjalmar Söderberg’s Stockholm – all with the help of an app on your phone. 

In this interview, Johanna Forsman takes us through the journey of StoryTourist. Taking us all the way back to the beginning, we talk ideation, entrepreneurship ecosystems, and Forsman’s entry into the Creative Business Cup.


The StoryTourist app is available on all mobile platforms and has tours in Copenhagen, London, Lund, Stockholm, and Ystad.


Where did the idea of StoryTourist come from?
It all started when I was 15 and reading Franz Kafka’s The Trial. It’s a difficult book to read as a teenager, and I just didn’t understand it at all, which really made me frustrated. The book is famously set in Prague, and when I was trying to get a better sense and understanding of the story, I realized it’d be so helpful to actually visit the city, walk the same streets as Josef K. – the main character – and to truly immerse myself in the fictional environment. 

A couple of years later, I met my partner and business partner, Andreas, and I decided to revisit the idea with him to see how he’d react. We’d planned a trip to Berlin, so I brought one of my favorite books that also happens to be set in the city: Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin. Andreas is not a bookworm like me, but he’s really interested in history; and Isherwood’s story is set in the 1930s of Weimar Germany. During our trip, I set up the first rendition of StoryTourist, an analog treasure hunt for him to enjoy. I’d give him clues and tell him to go to certain places and read certain sections in the book; and I’d spy on him from a distance to see what his genuine reaction was. He loved it – and thought, like me, that it was a great way to travel and experience the city. In 2014, we started StoryTourist together.

Was the format of StoryTourist thought out from the beginning? 
When Andreas and I started working on StoryTourist, we discovered that it was a great way to promote reading among youth. We had this idea of StoryTourist being like Pokémon Go, but for stories. It combines the two things that parents are always nagging their kids to do more: exercise and read books. That’s where we got the idea for making it into an app. We realized that if we created an app, we could consolidate all sorts of things – text, sound, video, illustrations – and of course, integrate a GPS and add elements of gamification to make it all place-specific and fun.

Our first prototype was in collaboration with the public library in Malmö. We hosted a hackathon, a short story writing competition, and learned so much throughout that project. That’s also where we came in contact with Lars Mattiasson and The Creative Plot for the first time! We all realized that building an app like this, while having a lot of potential, proved to be a quite difficult and costly endeavour, so we were constantly looking for investors and worked with different business incubators. Then suddenly, it dawned on us that, just like that, we had entered into the start-up world.

… and how was your entry into that start-up ecosystem? Did you have an entrepreneurial background?
Well, I had a sole proprietor business before, so I knew a little bit about running my own company, but it was all very limited and so different from learning and understanding the whole entrepreneurial ecosystem. Suddenly, you’re in this whole new world of lingo: pitching, venture capital, investors, shareholder agreements, and so on. It took some time to adapt, understand, and navigate it all, for sure. 


Do you have any tips for other people looking to break into entrepreneurship?

I think it’s really important to consider and make the distinction between a start-up and a company. Running a start-up and running a company are two completely different things and they both have very different journeys. If you want to run a start-up, then definitely find an incubator to help you. The help we’ve received from business incubators and accelerators has been invaluable, to be honest. 

(Pssst... Did you know that xPlot can help you on your creative business journey? Read more about what services we offer.)

Johanna Forsman and Andreas Jansson of StoryTourist winning the Welcome Solution at the Global Creative Business Cup 2019.


Let’s talk about the Creative Business Cup. You were the winner of the Swedish finals in 2019 and went on to win the Tourism category in the Global Finals. Tell me about your experience!
I stumbled across an ad for the global finals of CBC and thought it seemed like a really fun and exciting opportunity for StoryTourist to grow and gain international investments. A funny story is that when I was preparing for the global finals after winning the Swedish one, there was a lot more administrative work than I expected it to be. I was going through all of these applications thinking like “Ugh, is this even worth it?” but it really was! After having been in the start-up-loop for a couple of years now, I can still safely say that the CBC has been my most fun and treasured experience as an entrepreneur. It was just such a good event: meeting creative people from all over the world was incredible and the atmosphere was just so friendly and… unpretentious. In both the cultural and entrepreneurial sector, people sometimes tend to get snobbish and exclusive, so CBC could’ve been a disaster… but it wasn’t, at all. It really brought together the best of two worlds.

What has been your biggest take-away?
I think the competition and Creative Business Network can really aid in a bigger discussion that needs to be had in the Cultural and Creative Industries; that we are… an industry – and a big one at that! The turnover from the CCI is huge, which is sometimes hard to fathom considering how many cultural workers struggle financially. Right now, money in the CCI is concentrated within a few big corporations, meaning a lot of smaller start-ups and sole proprietorships fall behind; and there’s this expectation, too, because you’re working in the creative sector, that people should work for free. It’s disheartening, and the CCI really needs a paradigm shift. The CBC is such an important reminder for everyone that cultural entrepreneurship is a thing, and that it needs to be taken seriously and valued appropriately.

Where is StoryTourist heading next?
We’re always trying to break down the barriers between “high culture” and “low culture;” the distinction between the two just seems so silly. At StoryTourist we’re just really interested in discovering the things that people truly like to get nerdy about; for some that’ll be Kafka, for others, that might be Jersey Shore. To us – none of that matters! What truly matters is passing down cultural heritage. There are a lot of exciting things happening for us right now. We’re looking into working with freelancers, podcasts, and are branching out from literature to history. We just released our first historical tour in Lund, based on the true story of the murder at Locus Peccatorum. We’re really excited to continue working and expanding on our product.

––––––––––––––––

Previous xPlot articles about StoryTourist:
And the winner is... StoryTourist!

Winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden sharpens her pitch before the Global Finals

Meet our exciting finalists!

To learn more about Creative Business Cup, please visit The Cup on our website, or visit this article.

Ready to accelerate your own creative business idea? Apply now!

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

StoryTourist is available on all mobile platforms and has tours in Copenhagen, London, Lund, Stockholm, and Ystad. Learn more about StoryTourist and Johanna Forsman on their
website.

22.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

This is TAI and SafariSeat – the Swedish start-up ranking no.3 in the world

During #BRIGHT21, 80+ countries competed in the Creative Business Cup to be crowned the best creative entrepreneurs in the world. TAI/SafariSeat – representing Sweden – claimed the bronze, ranking them the third best start-up in the world!

Read more
20.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

#RRCrossingBorders – New Ways of Storytelling with Natural Pengu

During this episode of Recap and Rewind – a look back at our annual event, Crossing Borders – we catch up with Markku Lorentz of Natural Pengu to talk storytelling, heroes, Dungeons & Dragons, and the power of the internet.

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19.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

DARE Stories: Changing Lives, Changing Culture – Kamal Aubakirov and 360 Mentors

In this episode of DARE Stories, Kamal Aubakirov tells the story of 360 Mentors: an educational organization changing the lives of youth in Kazakhstan by helping them prepare for college.

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15.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

#RRCrossingBorders – What is FemTech? And why should we care, anyway?

On this episode of Recap & Rewind: FemTech and its importance in the modern entrepreneurship ecosystem. How do we render a new social reality of services, products, and design to support women’s health? And what really is FemTech, anyway?

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12.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

DARE Stories: Raul Romero and Yakera

Welcome to DARE Stories – a new series hosted by xPlot in collaboration with creators all over the world. Here, we let creative entrepreneurs tell their story – of daring, of innovating, and building their own. First out: Raul Romero and his Yakera.

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5.7.21
|
Anneli Xie

#RRCrossingBorders: Social Infrastructure and the Importance of Third Places

Welcome to Recap and Rewind – a look back at our annual event, Crossing Borders. First out is a discussion on urban design and the importance of creating third places – all through a lens of community, creativity, and CultureHouse.

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30.6.21
|
Anneli Xie

#BRIGHT21: SafariSeat in the Global Finals of the CBC!

SafariSeat, the winners of Creative Business Cup Sweden 2020, are one of the top six creative start-ups in the WORLD! Today, June 30th, they're making their final pitch in the Global Finals of the Creative Business Cup, held virtually at #BRIGHT21.

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28.6.21
|
Anneli Xie

#BRIGHT21: Footprint Level®, Smart Fashion – and much more!

#BRIGHT21 is a three-day virtual event running from 28 June – 30 June that will change your perspective on entrepreneurship and creativity. Join us to talk fashion and see Footprint Level® – winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden – take on the world!

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25.6.21
|
Jonathan Wintoft

Onwards and Upwards: the xPlot Journey Continues

The Crossing Borders event showed us the endless possibilities stemming from the Cultural and Creative Industries. This summer, we’re picking up on loose ends and tying it all together.

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21.6.21
|
Anneli Xie

The future is BRIGHT – and so is Smart Fashion

In a week – on June 28th to 30th, 2021 – Creative Business Network is hosting their annual conference, #BRIGHT21. Of course, xPlot is joining in on the fun! On June 30th, tune in to hear our thoughts on the future of the fashion industry.

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10.6.21
|
Anneli Xie

Crossing Borders, Taking Risks: All We Learned About Hybrid Events

On the 19th of May, we did something we’d never done before – we hosted a full-blown, international, hybrid event. Thank you to all who came! We had a blast and we hope you did too. Here’s what we learned.

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30.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Building Climate Resilience Through Communication with Footprint Level®

How do we build a climate resilient future amidst our ongoing climate catastrophe? We talk to Footprint Level® – the winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden 2021 – to see how their company contributes to the greater good of our climate, world, and us.

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20.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

...and the winner is: Footprint Level!

After an intense and enthralling final of the 2021 Swedish Creative Business Cup, Footprint Level – under the lead of Mats Huss – emerged as the winner!

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18.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

...and finally, meet the finalists!

TONIGHT, during our annual get-together, we present the winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden! Curious to hear more? Meet this year’s jury and our impressive top two finalists!

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18.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Markku Lorentz and Pengu Studios

What kind of hero would you like to become? In Natural Pengu, Markku Lorentz explores the concept of cooperative storytelling of real-life, albeit virtual, humans, crossing the borders between life online and life offline. But how? Let's see..

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15.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Haruna Katayama, FemTech Analyst

How do we render a new social reality of sex? Why is it important? Meet Haruna Katayama, FemTech Analyst, on her journey to democratize sexual pleasure and to normalize women’s sexual health.

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14.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: DARE CLAN and Riccardo Aimerito

DARE means courage, bravery, and risk. To Riccardo Aimerito, DARE is also an acronym for DYNAMIC, ADVENTUROUS, RADICAL, ECCENTRIC. How do we revolutionize the Cultural and Creative Industries through these four principles? Time to meet the Dare Clan.

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12.5.21
|
Jonathan Wintoft

Meet our DJ: Elin Beckman

Crossing borders and breaking the glass ceiling; on May 19th, we bring you Elin Beckman, DJ Extraordinaire! Read more about Elin Beckman; and most importantly – get ready to get grooving.

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12.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Mario Amura and Phlay

Internationally acclaimed cinematographer and photographer Mario Amura is crossing borders in many ways. Most recently, by delving into the world of rhythmic-visual performativity and human-computer interaction. Let’s take a look!

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3.5.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Pär Säthil – The Brave Creative

Creativity and psychology might benefit more from each other than we think. On May 19th, xPlot welcomes Pär Säthil, psychologist, writer, and former musician, to speak about how psychology has the power to unlock creative action.

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30.4.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: gener8tor and its Motown Musician Accelerator

On the Swedish CBC Finals on the 19th of May, xPlot welcomes Chelsea Linder from gener8tor and Suai Kee from gener8tor’s Motown Musician Accelerator, to speak about the creative economy and the music industry in the United States and globally. 

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23.4.21
|
Jonathan Wintoft

Calling all creative entrepreneurs: Join the Creative Business Academy!

The winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden does not only get to represent Sweden at the Global CBC Finals in June, but also snatches a spot in an exclusive training program for creative entrepreneurs: the Creative Business Academy!

Read more
22.4.21
|
Anneli Xie

Meet the Speakers: Aaron Greiner – Founder and Director of CultureHouse

On the Swedish CBC Finals on the 19th of May, xPlot welcomes Aaron Greiner, founder and director of CultureHouse, to speak about the importance of social infrastructure and how free pop-up community spaces can make a lasting impact.

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19.4.21
|
Anneli Xie

A mask start-up shows its face: Mymic wins the Swiss Creative Business Cup!

The Creative Business Cup is currently in full bloom, sprouting new and exciting innovations from all over the world. As part of an international network of 80+ countries, xPlot helped pick the winner in Switzerland last week. Let's check them out!

Read more
12.4.21
|
Anneli Xie

5 Reasons to Apply to the Creative Business Cup!

Time to put your thoughts into action – here’s five reasons YOU should apply to the Creative Business Cup!

Read more
8.4.21
|
Anneli Xie

Expert Input on the Elements of Entrepreneurship Ecosystems: A Chat with Dr. Jasna Pocek

At xPlot, we believe in the collective power of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. But what is an entrepreneurship ecosystem, really? We ask researcher and scholar Dr. Jasna Pocek to explain and elaborate.

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16.3.21
|
Anneli Xie

10 years, 10 webinars: Happy birthday, Klump!

Start the week fresh with inspiration – enjoy daily visits to Klump cultural incubator to learn and discuss cultural entrepreneurship with knowledgeable guests and passionate speakers. The webinars are informal, informative, and completely free!

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10.3.21
|
Anneli Xie

Applications to the 2021 Creative Business Cup are now OPEN!

Dreaming of growing your creative endeavors? Thinking about starting your own business? Ready for the opportunity of a lifetime? Join the annual Creative Business Cup and turn your thoughts into action! We are here to guide you along the way.

Read more
5.3.21
|
Anneli Xie

Social Learning Enhances Entrepreneurial Education

How can entrepreneurial education benefit from social learning; and what really is social learning? In an academic study of one of xPlot's previous ventures – Barcamper – we may find the answers to our questions.

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23.2.21
|
Anneli Xie

Welcome to the creARTive Sessions!

On March 4th, 2021, The creARTive Sessions begin! Aiming to promote and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience amongst entrepreneurs within the Cultural and Creative Sector, this is a digital series you do not want to miss.

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8.2.21
|
Anneli Xie

xPlot & creARTive are joining Folk & Kultur 2021!

Reset and recharge; let’s have some fun! On February 10–12, 2021, you can join xPlot at the fourth annual – and first digital – Folk och Kultur! 250 activities packed into three days of fun and festivities; and best of all, it’s completely free!

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18.1.21
|
Katarina Scott

69 different fundings you can apply for during 2021!

Do you need to finance a project in 2021? Navigating the Creative & Cultural industries for funding just got a bit easier.

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8.1.21
|
Anneli Xie

From Barcamper to TIME Magazine: Kirill Noskov on Growing IAMRUNBOX

Even during a tumultuous year of COVID lock-downs and economic uncertainty, Kirill Noskov – founder and CEO of the backpack company IAMRUNBOX – has achieved momentous success.

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24.11.20
|
Lars Mattiasson

Join our innovative educational program - Creative Business Academy

xPlot and Creative Business Network launch an international educational program for the Creative Industries.

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5.10.20
|
Hossein Lavi

Lunds kommun och Lundasupport bjuder in till webinar!

Välkommen att delta vid ett interaktivt event om finansiering och ekonomi i det nya normala. Oavsett om du driver en startup eller ett etablerat företag så hjälper vi dig att reda ut begreppen och se möjligheterna.

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28.2.20
|
Lars Mattiasson

What can entrepreneurs learn from athletes about sustainable development?

In order to create the companies of the future, entrepreneurs need to learn about personal sustainability. For this reason, we’ve invited four top athletes to join the Swedish final of the Creative Business Cup.

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21.1.20
|
Elinor Valfridsson

5 reasons why you should apply for Creative Business Cup 2020

Gather your thoughts and sharpen your pens, because the applications for CBC (Creative Business Cup) are open!

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9.1.20
|
Lars Mattiasson

Apply to the Creative Business Cup!

We can help you take your business idea to the world together with investors, business coaches and a massive international network!

Read more
3.12.19
|
Elinor Valfridsson

What is Creative Business Network and what’s xPlot got to do with it?

To support the entrepreneurs in our network, we’ve, therefore, joined forces with Creative Business Network, a global organization whose main focus is to support startups in the creative industry.

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30.10.19
|
Hossein Lavi

Be Here Then - an xPlot story is borne.

Ever wondered how the old train station looked like or how the main city square was used 200 years ago? In October, one of our startups who made it to xPlot's national finals during 2018 launched their time machine app in the city of Lund in Sweden.

Read more
30.9.19
|
Nida Aslam

Nida from Pakistan collaborates with xPlot in opening a new Creative Business Network in Pakistan.

I have always believed that good design and creativity can help solve the most complex problems in the world.

Read more
10.9.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

The Brewhouse Award 2019.

Compete for SEK 20,000, business coaching, marketing, mentoring and other profits that will bring you to fruition.

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5.9.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

Incubators for culture & creative industries join forces in a national organization.

Sweden's incubators for culture and creative industries gathered at Brewhouse's cultural factory to form a new association for incubators within the culture and creative sector.

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19.6.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

Creative Business Cup Global Finals in Copenhagen July 1-2.

Creative Business Cup National Competitions are organized in more than 70 countries, sending winners annually to the Global Finals in Copenhagen. ​

Read more
5.6.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

Winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden sharpens her pitch before the Global Finals in Copenhagen.

Johanna Forsman, co-founder of Story Tourist takes part in the Baltic-Nordic Bootcamp June 4-5 in Helsinki.

Read more
10.5.19
|
Hossein Lavi

And the winner is…Story Tourist!

We are happy to announce the winner of Creative Business Cup Sweden. Next step for Story Tourist is the global finals in Copenhagen the 1-2 of July.

Read more
2.5.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

From a film festival to a multimedia opportunity valley.

The story about a small Italian village that became a leading film and multimedia hub. On the 8th of May, you will hear the full story from Luca Tesauro, CEO of Giffoni Innovation Hub

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29.4.19
|
Hossein Lavi

Meet our exciting finalists!

Fierce competition and strong inflow of applications made it really hard for the jury to evaluate and choose the finalists for the 8th of May in Lund.

Read more
25.4.19
|
Hossein Lavi

Many thanks to all the startups who applied to Creative Business Cup Sweden 2019.

Next, the finals 8th of May at Mejeriet in Lund.

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27.3.19
|
Hossein Lavi

Do you want to speed up your access into an international market?

Apply today to the Creative Business Cup Sweden and check if your idea has the potential to succeed globally.

Read more
15.3.19
|
Lars Mattiasson

Here we are, with *great news* for you!

On the 4th of April in Stockholm, the Sweden Demo Day will take place!

Read more