laser tagging in Kathmandu
‘Yestai ho’ culture has made us quite a laid back bunch. Most might consider it to be counter-productive; however there are a few ventures, like Laser Maxx, that are making the most out of it.
When something doesn’t go according to plan and when new concepts die even before being born, everyone here in Nepal has only said “yestai ho” (it’s always like this) surrendering to the situation. The yestai ho culture has made us far too complacent when things don’t work out. Nepal actually seemed comfortable for years with this attitude. However, in recent years things have changed. The laid back yestai ho is now providing opportunities for business ventures rather than just being a prevalent culture. The proof is the first laser tag venture in the country: Laser Maxx Kathmandu in Civil Mall.
The entertainment business which once only had popcorn movies, eating out, wandering nearby temples as a “have good time market” now has arcade games, bowling, paintball and the very new laser tag to get people going. And if anybody is of the opinion that this venture of Laser tag which is all new in the country will not work in Nepal, this opinion would be wrong. More than 4,000 Facebook likes do not suggest a fling that will die down soon.
LaserMaxx was a dream of the two boys who are now managers at LaserMaxx, Uttam Khanal and Sunil Dhakal. Rens Pothuizen, CEO of LaserMaxx, explained that the two Nepali boys had questioned ‘Why can’t laser tag be in Nepal?’ while playing laser tag in Holland. “The idea persisted from right then and I kept coming to Nepal and then later Uttam, Sunil and I came together and started preparing for the venture” says Rens. When asked why he thought laser tag would work in Nepal he answers “the fact that the two boys then in Holland loved it”.
The team LaserMaxx soon after discussing their plan started researching about their venture. They realized that Nepal now had people with disposable income while researching on Nepal’s economic status. They researched about every possibility and found things such as where would Laser tag work the best. The research showed that LaserMaxx would work where there was a flow of customers and where there was food traffic. Civil Mall fitted perfectly to the idea but finding the location initially was exhausting for the team. Reliable investors were still not available when they were starting out, but finally when Civil Trade Centre proposed a partnership they shook hands happily.
The fun in playing laser tag that people now have started talking about includes killing their bosses in the game and not feeling a tinge of guilt. Today, many corporate houses crave this game of laser tag for its refreshing team building exercise. However, coming up with this platform in Nepal for the very first time was really difficult for the team. “Our initial challenge was the paper work. In Holland, if we filled one form, all of the registrars would know what we were starting. But here we had to tell what we were up to in every government window” says Rens. He further adds “I never actually went down for the registration because for some reason the price always rises when it’s a foreign face filling a form.”
Laser tag is a new concept that Rens and his team are looking forward to spread. “Franchising LaserMaxx definitely when we get stable with this one” says Rens when describing his plans for future. Initially when they started in the ground floor of the Civil Mall the flow of customers was unstoppable. People who were curious about it just went and played a round of the game. But having shifted to the fourth floor, the LaserMaxx studio is now looking for real customers who would become regular customers with a few go on the game.
“Our team is willing to do whatever it is necessary to take this venture to the next level. This is just the beginning and we have much to do” says Rens. With Rens’s team spirit it seems like the ‘Yestai ho’ culture is finally being challenged. When a successful Nepali business helps other Nepalis with innovative business ideas, as LaserMaxx was helped by Civil Trade Center, “yestai ho” culture can slowly fade out from our country. This venture probably will be a forerunner for other new concepts to come into the gaming business of Nepal.