The Rise of PanIQ: How Entrepreneur Ákos Gabossy is Disrupting Locatio…

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

A question around which a multi-million-dollar business has been built as more and more people flock to location based entertainment venues in hopes of feeling their heart rate rise as they exercise their mental and physical abilities and proportion time with friends, family or work colleagues in a rare bonding experience that most people seem to crave now more than ever before.

For thirty-five-year-old Hungarian born entrepreneur Ákos Gabossy, the pandemic presented one of the ultimate challenges as his brand, PanIQ Escape Room looks to establish itself as the unquestionable leader in rare location based entertainment; An interesting thing happened –as it has during other trying times in Mr. Gabossy´s life- the hardship endured only strengthened him and his brand further.

With more and more people across America returning to their normal lives to a larger extent, location based entertainment has experienced a meteoric rise in popular need. Mr. Gabossy´s brand already enjoyed extensive presence across over a dozen meaningful U.S. markets in addition as international franchise locations; However, PanIQ Room´s newest Las Vegas franchise flagship store is the crown jewel for a company that has become a principal force within its field against all odds, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Launched alongside franchisee-investor Mr. Erno Varadi and located inside Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian Resort on the world famous Las Vegas Strip, fun seekers effortlessly gravitate towards PanIQ Room as it is the only Vegas escape room that combines a myriad of brain challenging games with a complete service bar and lounge, providing already more opportunities for players to use quality time together.

With this opening, Mr. Gabossy further expands the playing field for the company he produced out of an idea he first had as a high school student spending an academic year in Los Angeles who visited a Chuck-E-Cheese´s and became fixated on applying himself – after successfully completing a Masters Degree in Economics – to developing and launching a new copy of location based entertainment experiences.

According to Grandview Research, the global location based entertainment market size was valued at USD 3.05 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.4% from 2021 to 2028.

As it happens with most large extent business opportunities, those who believe in their vision for the future and put their money where their mouth is, ultimately become part leaders within thriving new industries; And the investors who backed them get to enjoy market beating returns and a front row seat to observe the revolutionary restructuring of spending habits in times of a new normality.

Ákos Gabossy and PanIQ Escape Rooms have successfully secured over $8.5 million dollars in funding which has paved the way for a momentous strategic acquisition and expansion effort that is setting the stage for what the company hopes will be the finishing touch in their rare positioning strategy.

Mr. Gabossy recently granted us an interview in which we discussed the future of this powerful new consumption trend and the insights that have enabled his brand to capture the lion´s proportion of this rapidly growing market.

Our goal was to build a very upscale escape room facility, that lives up to the standards of the entertainment capital of the world. It was a challenge to come up with rare puzzles and exciting story lines, we also wanted to create an ecosystem, which is very “Instagram friendly” and inspires younger generations. We also additional a bar and lounge area, so players can discuss/course of action their experience and use more time at PanIQ Room.

Escape rooms are an extremely interactive experience, where players become an actor or actress of their own story. The new generation escape rooms are not about escaping anymore, a well designed game offers a complicate adventure for a small group of people (usually friends, coworkers, family members) in an authentic ecosystem. Most escape rooms can only be played once, which method they are a very exclusive and once in a lifetime experience. Players also don’t need any special abilities to have fun at PanIQ Room, most venues are very well-located and easily easy to reach.

We survived it with almost zero revenue for one year, which is a huge entrepreneurial success for a unprotected brand like us. We have a great investor partner, who could sustain us financially during the darkest days. Unfortunately, most of our landlords weren’t wise enough to sustain us with a reasonable rent relief, so we had to figure out other ways to keep our stores alive (or more like hibernated). The location based entertainment sector is probably the biggest victim (businesswise) of the complete pandemic, the different aim programs were absolutely ineffective and redundant.

Hiventures, a Hungarian state owned venture capital firm invested $8.5M dollars into PanIQ Room in order to open chief corporate owned stores and sustain our franchisees. We just signed new lease agreements in Austin and Seattle, but new locations are however to come in San Diego, Los Angeles and New York City. Our goal is to reach the $10M dollar annual revenue mark by 2024. We are also working on a big 40+ location merger, which will hopefully rule PanIQ to become the biggest escape room brand of the planet.

I always think long term, which method we had to sacrifice majority of our short term profits. We are in the middle of an incredible journey, where we launched a global business from Eastern Europe in a very competitive market.

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