TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Poland-based MyGuidie, a platform which allows travellers to find unique experiences run by locals.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
We’re a team of three girls, specialists in dedicated areas.
- Ola is our CEO and programmer, she has already created two successful startups, FashionStyle and Animili.
- Kasia is our interactive designer with ten years of experience, designing for some of the most biggest banks and automotive companies like Lexus or Toyota.
- Paulina is our marketing manager who has successfully promoted Spanish and Polish startups for the past five years and organizes events for startupers.
In addition we have a strong networks of our ambassadors who reside in the most important European cities, such as London, Madrid, Paris, Berlin and Warsaw.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Until now we are self-funded, but we also sold 1% stake of an auction site to cover the costs associated with marketing. We’re raising our seed round right now.
What problem are you trying to solve?
We’re killing two birds with one stone and resolve two of the most basic problems of travelers, locals and local experts.
On the one hand we’re responding to the question: "What to do in the city I travel or live in". But also we help local experts to make money doing what they love.
People, both travelers and locals need an inspiration and are fed up with generalized tours and activities. They also don’t know which offers and people are trustworthy and finding interesting things to do takes them definitely too much time.
Local experts need a simple and flexible way to make money, but they are afraid, because they don’t know how to manage marketing, payments, bookings and all the rest of business stuff.
We give travelers, locals and local experts a simple, safe and quick solution.
Describe the business, core products and services?
MyGuidie is an online marketplace that helps tourists and locals who don’t know how to spend their free time, find unique experiences and activities, provided by passionate local experts, with matching offers to their interests.
We provide local experts a revolutionary and complete tool that allows them to get paid for their passion easily and safely, build their reputation and focus on what they do best, leaving in our hands all the issues related to marketing, reservations, payments and customer service.
To the rest of people we provide a readily available and reliable platform for interesting activities, tours and events, that contains only hand-picked and approved by us, high-quality personalized offers.
We inspire people to go out and acquire new skills and do new things, but also to travel and explore the world in a completely different way than previously known.
We’re interested in everything that is authentic and unique: places which are not described in guidebooks, local dishes that are prepared according to traditional recipes handed down from generation to generation over the centuries and the company of local people.
On the one hand we want to emphasize how important experiences from travels are, on the other, we show that even the city in which we live from births, conceals from us a lot of amazing people, meetings and activities, which are at our users’ fingertips.
We allow both individuals and businesses offers, always when activities and experiences are provided by a concrete person.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Our key consumers are:
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
- people, mostly from Europe, who want to learn and try new things in cities they live in
- independent tourists who look for personal and unique experiences
- local experts who look for a flexible and easy way to make money by sharing their passion
Of course we have. Two months after launching we had 53 experiences and 65 successful transactions.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
We charge a 15% reservation fee from people who reserve our experiences and activities. We don’t charge local experts at any time.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Our service is intuitive and easy to use.
- We offer a lot of social and personalization features that make MyGuidie and the offers viral, like matching offers to users interests based on facebook profiles, custom requests and wishlist (if someone wants a certain experience we featured it on our page within one week).
- We're sure about our offers quality - all of them are hand-picked.
- We’re a versatile, flexible and experienced team.
- We're a small team with limited resources
- A lot of people (local experts) look for additional ways to make money
- Large number of cheap airline connections leads to increased interest in independent travelling
- We have a lot of possible partners, for example, flight searching and hotel booking services
- Growing number of people that appreciate personalized offers
- Social travelling is a strong trend
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- There is quite a lot of competition in this market and there are constantly new startups appearing, focused on offering experiences.
We launched on May 2011 with a little bit different idea and many people told us that it won’t work. So we changed our first idea and from that time we hear almost only positive opinions.
Of course there is always somebody who claims that a startup from Poland has no chance of international success, but we have succeeded in a few European competitions so we think we can handle it.
Lately, we heard from a few people that it would be hard to be a leader in European market, but fortunately it’s so big that we’re sure that we find our niche.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
We would like to be a significant player in European market, have our ambassador in every important European city and offer at least 500 amazing experiences and activities.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.