ZimStartups: Byo Techie Develops Travel App

Zimbabwe is successfully breaking away from the grasps of technological primitiveness as it
moves towards embracing the virtual changes obtaining globally.

The delusion that Africans are passive, lacking urgency to innovate and create new inventions
was dissolved at this year’s TechFest. Young people are taking up to the challenge to use their
fresh minds to inspire innovation and change the world.

By Loveness B. Mpofu.

The Epitome of such innovators is Nkosana Masuku, who at a tender age has developed a startup
which is aimed at heightening technological development in the country. Masuku’s start-up is
called Virtual Tours and it mainly utilises virtual reality to innovate/ create 360⁰ tours.

Loveness Mpofu (LM) caught up with Masuku (NM) where he
related that young innovators should pursue their ideas and work towards their success.

LM: You were part of the startups that exhibited at TechFest 2017, can you tell us what
your Virtual Tours is all about?

NM: Virtual Tours is a start-up which houses the Virtual Reality Centre (VR Centre). It utilises
virtual reality to create 360⁰ tours, which are 360⁰ images that are interlinked and staged together
to create tours of different places in 3-Dimension (3-D). These videos are viewed using 3-D lens

Lady browses through images of Zimbabwe’s tourism destinations

LM: I believe some people might be wondering what is virtual reality. Can you shed some
light on what virtual reality is?

NM: Virtual Reality allows use of computer software to generate (3D) simulations of certain
environments such that one experiences an environment as it is in a real world. In simple terms,
it is a virtual world being brought into reality. So, virtual reality allows audiences to experience
real places in the world without the need to be physically present.

LM: How did you come up with this idea?

NM: One day I was using google to search for universities in other countries in 3-D and could
not find one. So, I said to myself why should we wait for two or three years to experience this
new technology that other countries are already experiencing; and utilise it to find solutions to
problems in the country. That was when I took my idea to TechVillage, founded by Takunda,
which is a group of young people who collaborate to help transform innovative ideas into startups.

LM: Since most start-ups start on a zero-budget, who funds Virtual Tours and what are
the challenges you are facing?

NM: First and fore-most, TechVillage helps the start-up with some resources such as 3-D
cameras which we use to create 360 Tours. Most importantly, the TechFest opened doors for us
to be able to benefit from the BigTime Strategic Group in South Africa.

LM: How do u foresee Virtual Tours contributing to the growth of the nation?

NM: Virtual Tours will help to offer solutions to the economic, socio-political and cultural ills in
the country through production of high quality 3-D images that will effectively reflect
Zimbabwe’s tourist attractions such as the Vic Falls in the country. This has great potential to
attract tourists into the country and generate foreign currency which will in-turn increase the
Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Also, awareness of the virtual reality through the VR Centre
means improved learning systems and in turn better problem solving.

LM: Apart from the business side, can you tell us about yourself, family and educational

NM: Well I was born on 17 December 1994 and reside in Mpopoma. As a young boy I have
always been fascinated by Science and technology, hence my nickname Dexter. I’m passionate
about designs and I’m a core designer at Designworks which did most of the design work for the
TechFest. My ambition has always been to explore and use technology to positively impact the
society. I’m a quiet person. I did my O’level and A’level at St Columbus and proceeded to
Hillside Teachers college to study physics and chemistry. My family is my young brother and we
stay with our grandmother, after our parents died in 2006. The death of my parents made me
realise that I have to be strong to survive and I encourage young innovators to pursue their ideas,
equipping themselves with adequate knowledge and to network with other experts in their field.

LM: Thank you Nkosana for your time and wish you the best in building your start-up into a
well-established company

NM: Thank you!

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