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City Safari BV team 9
City Safari BV Rotterdam, NL

City Safari Go

Pay a visit to a violin builder, a pundit, a refugee, a mosque, a squatter’s place, a storyteller… We open doors that normally remain closed.

$71,495 INVESTED
Minimum target amount
The concept

The City is full of stories. You would like to explore the rough edges of the city on your own, but you need a safe introduction? Pay a visit to a violin builder, a pundit, a refugee, an artist, a mosque, a squatter’s place, a storyteller… We open doors that normally remain closed to offer an encounter with the daily life of the city. Whether you are a local or a visitor, the City Safari Go platform lets you book a personal encounter you will never forget. You can be part of this new startup venture. Be on board before we enter the scale-up phase.

Unique Selling Points

City Safari Go holds a unique position. No other platform concentrates on parts of the city that are usually avoided by visitors. No other platform works with an active network of agents to approach and select hosts that aren’t active on the Internet at all. Nobody else has the head start of successfully opening up the huge resource of the exciting aspects of daily life in the city. And no other platform has a customer market of tourists, professionals and locals alike.

Revenue model

City Safari Go will scout agents and hosts in various cities and place their information on a platform where guests can book directly. Of the list price 50% will go to the host, 25% to the agent and 25% to City Safari. If a host operates his own dashboard, he will receive 75%. We will expand internationally to at least 24 cities by the end of 2019.

The existing City Safari Corporate program will generate € 3,500 per year in licenses plus € 7 per visitor.

Achieved so far

Since 1998 over 40,000 visitors have paid over 120,000 visits during a corporate program. During the financial crisis turnover dropped dramatically but is now picking up nicely from 500 in 2015 to an expected 5,000 corporate visitors in 2019. We used the slow years to streamline the process in a sophisticated database and to design the City Safari Go concept. Right now we are preparing the database for the platform. We have contracted hundreds of hosts in Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam and Utrecht and are currently preparing Malmö, Dresden, Athens and Mexico City.

Required investment and purpose

City Safari Go is a new startup product (B2C) which will unlock the value of the broad experience and the precious database of City Safari Corporate (B2B). For the startup phase we need € 60,000 for which we offer 7% in equity. It will be used for the Go booking platform  (€ 35,000), opening up new cities (€ 14,000) and SE and SM marketing (€ 11,000).

For the investor

You’ll be part of the community that supports a form of social entrepreneurship that combines people, planet and profit. As soon as the liquidity position allows it, (projected in 2019) we will offer to buy back the € 60,000 investment for € 75,000, but of course you’ll be welcome to stick around because that’s when earnings start really taking off. For those who stay, we offer an 8% dividend of the after tax profit. If the company grows to a value of over a hundred million, we will sell it between 2025 and 2030.

Marjolijn Masselink
CEO, founder, majority shareholder

With a degree in Cultural and Social Education Marjolijn worked as a theater programmer, mime artist and event organizer. When Kees de Gruiter came up with the concept of City Safari in 1996, she grasped it from his desk and went to work. From 2006 she served as a political commissioner in Rotterdam. In 2014 she came back full time to City Safari to successfully steer it out of the crisis.

Kees de Gruiter
CFO, founder, minority shareholder

Kees started out as an English teacher but discovered that his real talent was in understanding and influencing the fabric of the city. Since 1986 his firm ‘Solutions for the City’ made successful plans in the fields of culture, tourism and urban development, one of them City Safari. He remained involved in City Safari and his partnership with Marjolijn. In 2014 they got married in Timbuktu, Mali.

Rinske Brand
Marketing advisor (

‘Making a real difference for people and organizations that matter’. With this ambition I founded BRAND in 2007 driven by the concept of ‘profit with a purpose’. I’m always in sixth gear and will not shy away from a challenge. “Proud Promotors of Urban Culture” is our slogan so City Safari fits right in. I’m proud to be part of this new venture and I see great potential for City Safari Go.

Greg Wunz (
Builder of the City Safari Go platform

Greg believes that the best approach to increasing profitability, increasing morale and decreasing employee stress is to increase efficiency. He enjoys analyzing a process and generating a solution to make the process as refined as possible. Greg learned that creating custom database applications is one of the best ways to improve any business. And that’s exactly what he’s doing for City Safari.

Paula van Hamburg
Financial Advisor for JMH Advisory Group (

JMH is a committed and competent service provider for small and medium-sized enterprises. We support and give advice to entrepreneurs with financial, administrative, legal and fiscal affairs. Personal consultation, involvement and integrated professional knowledge are the pillars of our service. With these tools we are optimally capable of advising and supporting the new City Safari venture.

The product

The city is full of stories. Many open minded people are curious about the stories of other people, about their passions and their dreams, their achievements and their misfortunes. They just need someone to open their doors. We have been doing that successfully with full service programs (B2B) for companies, institutions and government agencies, with over 120,000 visits mainly in Rotterdam. Now, with a new approach we want to make these personal encounters available for private persons, visitors and locals alike (B2C), with a new platform City Safari Go. This makes the product more flexible, cheaper and scalable.

More flexible because the client decides who and when she’d like to meet without a minimum number of visits in a program. Cheaper by around 50% because the client does most of the work to compose the program. And scalable because the platform will grow to offer thousands of hosts in dozens of cities worldwide.

Although the concept is firmly based on unlocking the value of an existing database of hosts and years of experience in the Business to Business market, we consider this new venture in the Business to Consumer market to be a startup.

Unique Selling Points

  • Nobody else has tapped into the huge resource of people who are trying to cope in the parts of town that are usually avoided by visitors. But these happen to be the most exciting parts, where cultures mix and clash and where people are happy to receive guests to share their story and show. City Safari has found a way for visitors to overcome their diffidence and safely visit these districts and ring a doorbell they have never touched.

  • Nobody else has developed the successful approach to activate hosts that are not normally outreaching to receive inquisitive guests that they do not know and that they may never see again but that will enrich their lives and boost their self esteem.

  • Nobody who might want to copy the concept has the head start, the known and protected brand name and the reputation to establish a broad base to be market leader in social encounters.

Revenue model

City Safari Go will scout hosts in various cities and place their information on a platform where guests can book directly. Of the list price 50% will go to the host, 25% to the agent and 25% to City Safari. If a host operates his own dashboard she will receive 75%. 

City Safari Corporate and City Safari Go is one corporation so anyone who invests in the concept of City Safari Go also benefits from the growth of City Safari Corporate. This program will generate license fees: € 3,500 per year plus € 7 per visitor.


Every city in the world has a treasure trove of people with a story and every city in the world has open minded people who would like to meet with people on the other side of the track but need a little help to make the connection. We will first set up City Safari Go in our home base Rotterdam with over a hundred active hosts and then expand to Amsterdam and Utrecht, cities where we’re already active, and to Athens and Mexico City to test the international procedures. Meanwhile we are building a database in The Hague, Arnhem, Malmö and Dresden. We’ll have at least 50 hosts per city in 24 cities by the end of 2019 but we’re working on a list of 64 cities simultaneously.

Current status

Our website shows our current status of the products we offer. It also holds a list of corporations, institutions and government agencies that have made use of our services and their reviews. We have described the specifics for the booking platform for the Go program (BtoC). We have a sophisticated MS relational database running on SQL Azure for streamlined procedures for the Corporate (BtoB) program. Greg Wunz (see team) is now linking the Go platform to the Corporate database.

Planned developments

Right now we are preparing the browser platform to be ready to receive data, We can finance this from our own means. From January 7, there will be a 60 day window to invest in our new venture through Symbid. From the date that the € 60,000 will be raised, we’ll go full throttle with the development of all functionality of the platform. By August 31st we should have the browser platform loaded with the Rotterdam database of hosts and have a functioning interface for guests. Then we will start our campaign based on the existing network. We’ll spend 2016 and 2017 expanding hosts and cities and executing a campaign to create an active market of interested parties. This campaign will not only be directed at the general public but also at the network of local hosts of major travel agencies. 

Target group

City Safari Go concentrates on individuals who compose their own program through the booking platform. Generally speaking all open minded people who would like to explore parts of city life that they are unfamiliar with, are our target group. The first are individual visitors of a city who would like to explore the city on their own, without a guide, tourists as well as locals. The second are professionally interested individuals like journalists, policy makers and researchers.

Market size

  • Potentially City Safari Go can grow to 500 cities world wide. These are cities with over 500,000 inhabitants that combine enough visitors with a city life worth exploring. The market exists of people visiting these cities but certainly also of open minded people from the region itself.  

  • City Safari Go operates in two markets simultaneously that are growing very fast: the sharing economy (with the booking technology) and individual traveling. Within these markets we have developed a niche that will take full advantage of this growth with moderate competition.

  • The sharing economy is expected to grow from € 14 billion in 2014 to € 300 billion in 2025. By 2030 the number of cross border travelers will have doubled from 2015 to 1.8 billion. Online booking in the leisure industry grows by 10% each year.

  • Our market are individual travelers with a cultural interest and we see that world wide the trend is favorable for us and away from package tours. In the 24 cities that we will have opened up by the end of 2019, we plan to reach 1% of the market of 40 million visitors to these cities.

  • If City Safari Go really takes off we could reach 5% of the culturally interested visitors in 500 cities which would amount to 25 million visits per year.


The competition is huge when it comes to things you can do in your leisure time in the city. We’re operating in two fields, the tourist industry and the industry of exploring the social fabric of the city. In many cities people offer guided tours that go beyond the touristic sites. And there are many platforms that offer you things to do when you’re in a city whether it’s as a local or a visitor. Our product is unique and in fact we are convinced that the competition will actually support us: they put the client in the city where we have an additional offer.

One consideration is whether the Go concept will compete with the Corporate concept within City Safari itself. Will clients who now pay for full service programs turn to the cheaper alternative? Some probably will, but we also expect it to work the other way around. Someone who is inspired through an individual encounter in Go, will want to take his colleagues or relations on a full service Corporate program.

Customer feedback

Over 40,000 people have been on a City Safari with over 120,000 individual visits. Over 1,000 clients have booked group programs. They have advertised City Safari by word of mouth to many others. The present customer base of subscriptions for our Mailchimp newsletter is 1,872 strong. They are our ambassadors. We expect that for them the option to create your own City Safari through the platform will create a new demand as it is more flexible and cheaper than the experience they had in the corporate program.

Among our guests in 2015 were NJI (Nederlands Jeugd  Instituut), the City of Almere, CPB (Central Planning Agency), the Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment, Vestia housing corporation and LSJ Medical Project Agency. 

Customer feedback

On our Dutch site there are many entries of feedback from the corporate guests, but also from some of the 6,000 private visitors who could afford the corporate price

From the beginning it has been our policy to ask for feedback through a free style written statement but also through a form rating and commenting every host. This provides valuable insights for our company policy but also on the level of our feedback to hosts as we’re not present during the personal encounter. Once an Afghan woman was asked to prepare a lunch for her visitors. She had done some research about what Dutch people have for lunch, but the visitors of course expected an Afghan lunch. The feedback could easily correct that.

New customers

Once the platform is in place we can reduce the price of an encounter by over 50% through City Safari Go compared to the Corporate program. The market for corporate clients who want full service for larger groups will keep growing as economic growth is kicking in. In the first stage the new City Safari Go guests will be attracted by our good reputation in the Netherlands on the news of our new product. From there we will build a global supply to attract new customers to cities around the globe.

Sales pitch

The City is full of stories. Many people would like to explore the rough edges of the city on their own, but they need a safe introduction Pay a visit to a violin builder, a pundit, a refugee, an artist, a mosque, a squatter’s place, a storyteller… We open doors that normally remain closed to offer an encounter with the daily life of the city. For locals and visitors alike the City Safari Go platform makes it possible to book a personal encounter they will never forget. You can be part of this new startup venture. Be on board before we enter the scale-up phase.

What has been done before

We have sold over 40,000 corporate programs covering three or more hosts each starting at € 66 per person. We have built a solid database with hundreds of hosts. We have agents in four new cities and we are ready to expand to the Go concept.

Marketing & sales channels

The platform for City Safari Go is the major channel for marketing and of course sales. All cities of the Go platform will be in English and in the local language for browser, Android and iOS. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) will be the most important instruments to make sure potential clients find us. Spreading the rumor will be the major accelerator through word of mouth and free publicity especially in the home base of the Netherlands. We will use the thousands of contacts that we now have in a Mailchimp Newsletter, LinkedIn and Facebook. We will activate our contacts with travel agencies and use Dutch tourists abroad as a crystallization point. For promoting City Safari Go in new cities, we will involve the local authorities who welcome the program as contributing to their policy of inclusion, social cohesion and intercultural understanding. 

Marketing objective

Our marketing objective is to attract 9,000 visits in 2016 growing to 270,000 in 2020. 


We have the partnerships within the team wit Greg Wunz who builds our platform, Rinske Brand who develops our marketing strategy and Paula van Hamburg who keeps our finances sound. We have agents in Utrecht, Den Haag, Arnhem, Dresden, Athens, Malmö and Mexico City. A major European tour operator is interested in offering agencies to hosts in their cities of destination. We are looking for opportunities to establish partnerships with platforms that offer accommodations and transportation for travelers. We have promising contacts with city administrations that want our program to help them realizing their goals for social inclusion and intercultural exchange.

Turnover so far

2014   40,000

2015   41,000

This bid for equity is for the private company City Safari BV. City Safari Go will be operated by this company.

The day to day operation of City Safari Corporate is done from a dual partnership (City Safari VOF) owned by partner Marjolijn Masselink and the private company City Safari BV. This way we avoid the mandatory minimal remuneration of € 43,000 for the CEO under Dutch law as long as earnings are too low. It is projected that by July 2017 this construction can be abolished and all activities of Go and Corporate will be operated from City Safari BV. Until that time the VOF pays a license fee of € 3,500 per year and € 7 per visitor to the BV. In the projected profits of City Safari BV we have added the projected license income from City Safari Corporate. City Safari BV is the sole owner of the trademark and the formula of both Corporate and Go (registered for EU). 

Projected turnover

2016,          75,000

2017,        675,000

2018,     1,350,000

2019,     2,700,000

2020,     4,500,000


What we know for sure is that there’s a huge reserve out there in the world of people with a story and that there are people who want to hear it. We know that hosts are prepared to share their story at a price that guests are prepared to pay and which can compete nicely with other pursuits in your leisure time. We know that the formula works and that we’re good at it. We’re sure we can handle the growth at the supply side as that has been estimated conservatively.

What we do not know is a hard figure for the valuation of the company at this moment with a going concern that’s coming out of the crisis and that’s introducing a new platform based on years of experience with a known brand name. We have answered Equidam’s questions to the best of our knowledge and we accept the outcome. As the hosts determine their own price and our revenue model is based on a percentage, it’s hard to predict turnover and profit. The platform will be able to handle exponential growth so we’re confident we can pull this off.

Invested so far

Partners Marjolijn Masselink and Kees de Gruiter have € 30,000 in equity and Marjolijn has lent € 53,500 of her own money to City Safari BV. We have a € 10,000 credit line with ING bank that we’re not using right now. It is not wise to create more debt in the company; therefore we turned to crowdfund equity. With profit that we could leave in the company we have developed a very sophisticated database to streamline the Corporate process which will increase profitability and which is also the basis for the Go platform (investment € 15,000 so far). And we’ve spent a lot of unpaid time preparing the Go platform and fulfilling the conditions to go live. We value the database with hundreds of hosts at € 50.000. 

Investment requirement

City Safari Go is a startup product based on broad experience and the precious database of City Safari Corporate. For the startup phase we need € 60,000 for which we offer 7% in equity. 

Purpose of investment

Of the € 60,000 in equity we will invest € 35,000 in the City Safari Go platform for browser, tablet and smartphone, including content, translations, etc. This platform will allow guests to book visits directly.

.€ 14,000 will be used to open up new cities and € 11,000 on initial social media and search engine marketing.


You’ll be part of a community that supports a form of social entrepreneurship (ISO 26000) that combines people, planet and profit. As soon as the liquidity position allows it, (projected in 2019) we will offer to buy back your share with a 25% bonus (€ 75,000 for the € 60,000 investment) but of course you’ll be welcome to stick around because that’s when earnings start really taking off.

During the crisis we have built up a negative reserve so in the projections we will start paying a dividend from 2020 onwards. Due to built up fiscal loss in the past, we will not pay company taxes over the first € 90,000 in profits.


City Safari has no external debts except to the owners who have invested at their own risk and we will keep away from bank loans. We have no long term contracts and hardly any investments with a depreciation period. We work from home. We own a big house of which less that 50% of the value is mortgaged. We have sources of income other than City Safari that keep us independent, also in a future crisis. We have made conservative estimates, in the sense that the growth at the supply side is mainly based on what we can accomplish ourselves. If agents and hosts really discover the potentials and post their own ‘products’ City Safari Go could grow exponentially. The only risk is that the demand side does not function as expected. That could slow down growth and hamper profits, but there is no danger of bankruptcy.