Tripverse is a travel plan sharing platform that also serves as an offline-readable travel plan viewer. It’s like Instagram but for personalized, offline-readable travel plans
At whom is your startup aimed?
Tech-dependent travelers who research and plan their trip to experience a destination like locals do.
How does your startup stand out against its competitors?
There are few apps that help travelers keep track of their travel plans. Most travelers resort to note-taking apps such as Evernote, pen and paper, or even excel sheets print out.
Unlike note-taking apps that can only store manually-entered texts and that are hard to navigate, TripVerse can display text, images, and maps offline, offers location autocomplete, and has an intuitive UI designed to display the most relevant information.
The only major app that caters to this need is TripIt. TripIt is mostly used by business travelers because it’s useful for tracking flights and hotel confirmations. Not many leisure travelers use TripIt because it’s frustrating to enter travel destinations and has a confusing user-interface. TripIt also don’t allow travelers to discover the travel plans of of their friends and other travel enthusiasts.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
It was really to solve a personal issue I had when I was traveling as an expat in Europe. I used Evernote, sent emails to myself on Gmail, printed Word documents, and realized that these solutions weren’t effective when keeping track of my travel plans. I also used TripIt, which is useful for tracking flights, but is really frustrating when I was trying to enter locations I wanted to visit.
So I was looking for a simple and intuitive app designed to carry a travel plan that’s readable offline.
Did you have any concerns when starting your business, if so what were they?
I had lots of concerns. Among them were: 1.) I came from marketing & business development background, so I had no prior experience with managing, designing, and building a product, 2.) Being somewhat of a pessimist, I wasn’t sure if the product only solved my own problem
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
My background is marketing and business development with experience in account management in advertising agency, global marketing and country product manager in a major consumer electronics company. Having grown up in the Bay Area, I’ve always been fascinated by technology and how it changes the world for the better.
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
Savings from my previous job and investment from my friends and family.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
That I was able to address the two primary concerns I mentioned above. With no prior experience, I’ve build TripVerse into a product that gets 1.) continuous organic user signups and a 25% conversion rate from travel blogs, 2.) the attention of long-time Silicon Valley VC and 3.) a trademark cease & desist letter from a major travel conglomerate.
How have you kept your business relevant and engaged with your audience over the last three years?
I constantly reach out to my users and listen to their feedback via email and social media. I also try to be on top of the latest trends in both travel and technical applications.
How long has your business been in making, and who is the team behind the business?
About 12 months.
Casey and Steve are my technical partners who have over 15 years experience in software development. Casey is also an experienced traveler who has backpacked to 35 different countries over 2 years.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Right now the biggest challenge is to grow our userbase. I’ve got the validation in conversion rate with media and blogs with small coverage. The immediate goal is get featured in major tech & travel publications.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
I believe an authentic travel experience is one of the most effective and sustainable way to remove barriers and prejudices. So I really want to build a community for travelers to exchange authentic, relevant, and actionable travel ideas, and in turn to enable travelers to see the world as it is.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
Always be learning. Google, Quora, and Youtube (at 2x the speed) are wonderful and quick ways to learn how to do things.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
Build a product that solves a personal painpoint, be very familiar with your target users, constantly listen to their feedback, and validate it with tools like Google AdWords, Twitter, and Facebook ads.