Interview With The Founder: Chris Stylianou of The Adventure is Real

At The Adventure Is Real, we’re helping remote-first businesses connect their colleagues and build culture so that remote working doesn’t feel remote.

Our Social as a Service gives remote businesses a dedicated account manager who will proactively organise weekly virtual socials, fun interactive content for teams to enjoy when it suits them, and exciting digital adventures hosted by live actors. The dedicated account manager will liaise with the team directly so that everything is taken care of when it comes to virtual socialisation, and lets leaders focus on running their business.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Originally, I wanted to create an in-person immersive experience in London inspired by the adventures I enjoyed growing up (The Hobbit, Indiana Jones etc.). We launched that in December 2019 and then started gaining momentum when in March 2020 the pandemic hit and we had to put it on indefinite hiatus.

With the lockdown, we decided to change track and create an online experience designed to entertain and bring families and friends together that couldn’t see each other face-to-face. We launched our secret agent-inspired virtual game Agent Venture and marked our transition from creating in-person to digital experiences.

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

With the pandemic and lockdown, we had to focus on hosting virtual experiences instead of in-person. With Agent Venture we originally started small with a shorter 45 minute experience, but demand was so strong we then extended that experience out to a fuller 75 minutes and released two follow-ups, so there’s now three missions that make a full trilogy!

We also originally aimed ourselves at consumers back in March 2020, but towards the end of 2020 we saw the demand for virtual work Xmas parties and we started serving the B2B market as well.

Whilst the company was bootstrapped originally, we raised a small round of funding of £150,000 last year to grow the business and since then we’ve created a new virtual experience, The Mayhemic Mysteries, and we’ve refined the business to serve the B2B market because as restrictions have eased many companies chose to make the permanent move to remote-first.

What can we hope to see from The Adventure is Real in the future?

Over the past year we’ve seen how the business landscape has evolved as many companies have chosen to stay remote post-restrictions. We identified that many of these remote-first businesses were facing significant challenges in how they build culture and their colleagues socialise now they no longer interact face-to-face. As a result we’ve launched a new comprehensive service specifically to solve this problem.

We’ve called it Social as a Service, and for our clients that sign up we assign them a dedicated account manager who joins their internal comms (such as Slack or MS Teams) and actively organise all of their social activities for them – that’s a combination of weekly socials, fun interactive content for teams to do in their own time, and our unique virtual adventures (such as Agent Venture) on a regular basis, all hosted by us.

Our client’s teams can then liaise with their account manager directly on any questions, rescheduling and so forth – so it effectively means that remote team leaders can leave all of their virtual social activities for us to organise and host and they can focus on running their business.

What do you think makes this company unique?

We really understand what makes a great online experience – when we first decided to pivot I knew that I didn’t want us to just try and translate our in-person experience online, but to create an experience from scratch that was designed to be online in the first place.

In line with our games themselves, we also understand what makes for good user onboarding, how to connect teams online and so on – and that’s why we’re so well positioned to help remote companies connect and socialise their teams.

What’s an interesting challenge you’ve faced while running the business?

The importance of constantly learning – it’s very tempting to not set aside time for structured learning or development as a Founder and CEO given how busy everything is, but I’ve found that the time spent doing so pays off tenfold.

It involves quite a lot of self-discipline to carve 30-60 minutes out of your day to focus solely on personal development when there is so much going on, but it’s an important discipline to practice.