TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Columbia-based Inbed.me, a social booking site for hostels, couches and other budget accommodation providers.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
We are a group of young entrepreneurs with several years of experience in the online travel space.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
- Alex Torrenegra, CTO, previously co-founded more than 10 online marketplaces, including Rentalo.com, Voice123.com, LetMeGo, BookingMarkets, etc.
- Diego Saez-Gil, CEO, previously co-founded Off Track Planet, after working several years at big consulting firms. Alex and Diego were part of the Young Leaders Summit Class of 35 this year at PhoCusWright Conference.
- Chris Piazza, VP of Global Inventory, worked for Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley.
- Juanda Zapata, Lead Developer, previously co-founded Yoga Digital and Gaming Culture.
We’ve raised a series seed round, led by seasoned entrepreneurs and advisors, including Fabrice Grinda (Zyngy, OLX,ViajaNet, Lofty), Alec Oxenford (OLX, DeRemate), Ariel Arrieta (Digital Ventures, NXTP Labs), etc.
Mauricio Prieto (co-founder de ODIGEO) and Rod Cuthbert (founder of Viator) have also joined the team as advisors/investors.
What problem are you trying to solve?
For socially oriented travellers, getting to know the people with whom they will be sharing accommodations is an important piece of information (especially true for Hostels travellers, where sometimes you share amenities with strangers).
For solo travellers, or for those travelling to unfamiliar destinations, making travel friends to share tips and plan activities together is really helpful.
Even with the great advances of the social web, traditional booking sites have failed to build social capabilities on top of the booking service. We are focused in solving this problem.
Describe the business, core products and services?
InBed.me is a social booking service that not only allows users to book a hostel or bed & breakfast, but also to interact with other travellers using the platform.
By connecting with their social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Forsquare, etc), users can create their profiles, see who else will be staying in each accommodation, check-in to places (even with out booking), connect with other travellers and plan activities together.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
We have access to an inventory of more than 10,000 properties around the world. Our users are mainly young travellers from the USA.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
We ran a beta test with about 1,000 users with very positive results.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
As with any booking site, we expect to receive a commission for each booking generated in our platform, either coming directly from the property owners, or from affiliate partners.
In the future, we can also be a lead generator for complimentary service providers (like activities, car rentals, flights, etc.)
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Extremely talented and focused team.
- Nobody has figured out yet how to making booking more social.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- Very competitive marketplace with several emerging players.
Some people told us that this particular marketplace is too competitive. We are too passionate about what we are doing, therefore we believe that we can build a great product and a great company.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Our success metrics include registered users, usage, bookings and revenue.
Here is a clip:
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.