TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Australia-based Clique, a new iPhone application which allows users to create and share travel content and tips with their friends.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
The Clique – an iphone app that lets users share travel recommendations exclusively with their friends.
My name is Todd Byrne and I’m a former NRL / Super League rugby league player. I love travelling and after retiring in 2009, I had the idea after having a few bad experiences with unreliable online travel reviews.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
None, I worked and saved to fund the development.
What problem are you trying to solve?
The lack of trust and reliability in online travel reviews. I think the people we rely on most for advice and tips are our friends so this is a platform to share these tips.
Describe the business, core products and services?
The business is all about improving the reliability of users decisions when they travel and the core product really is trust and reliability in the shape of an iphone application.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Tech savvy travellers and backpackers of the Facebook and iPhone generations.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Yes. We ran some tests using Facebook check in and Questions to determine whether people respond to recommendation requests and they did overwhelmingly.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
A freemium iphone app running AdMob and offering location based discounts. The strategy for profitability relies on user base as without them it will not be successful.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Small in size and therefore quickly adaptable. If we need to pivot in our focus we can do so easily. The Clique is also the first to offer a closed network like this in the travel sector which gives us a good opportunity to create an effective brand.
- Competiting against big brands with big budgets in a very competitive space. The Clique is also changing shape and focus as it goes.
- There are three reasons why this is a time of great opportunity for The Clique. Economically the barriers to entry have never been smaller, allowing new ideas a chance to grow. And develop cheaply. Socially, the mobile platform and smart phone usage is exploding. As the internet grows though so too do the amounts of information people are bombarded with daily. I think this will lead to people returning to their ‘villages’ where they have a small group of friends who they trust and rely on for their recommendations instead of anonymous internet strangers. Technologically, mobiles and the web is completely ingrained in our behaviour and something that used to be the domain of computer geeks, programming and app development, is now open to others
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- The travel industry is very competitive and changes very quickly with new strategies becoming old fast. Promotion is everything and we risk being overwhelmed by big brands who can easily adopt to us.
A few friends thought it was a waste and would never work. I didn’t listen to them because personal recommendations seem to me to be an upcoming trend.
And mobile goes with that. According to Google 96% of all searches will come from a mobile device within 24 months.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Steady growth and 10,000 users will do me. As well as implementing a successful monetization strategy.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.