India-based startup Tripoto focuses on the travel planning/inspiration stage of a trip.
In Tripoto, people can write their travel stories in a structured format - trip summary, type (nature, backpacker etc), cost, duration, detailed itinerary, and pictures.
Website users will be able to send a message (enquiry) to the author of a travel story. This way, the author becomes a tour guide as well.
The company is aiming to create a bank of trip itineraries for people to get inspired to travel.
Q&A with co-founder Anirudh Gupta below.
Tell us how you founded the company, why and what made you decide to jump in and create the business.
Tripoto was founded after listening to stories of thousands of travellers. We realized that these amazing travel stories need to be brought together on a single platform for easy search and discovery. We wanted to make it easy for people to share their stories and more importantly present these stories in a way that other travellers can use them.
At Tripoto we are bringing together travellers from around the world to share and discover real, actionable crowd sourced travel stories. We are mapping every single destination in the story, along with the associated content and pictures.
We feel that the sharing economy is on the verge of a takeoff and want to be a part of this change. It was always the right time to do something like this. It’s just that we decided to do it now.
Size of the team, names of founders, management roles and key personnel?
We are a team of six with two founders:
- Anirudh Gupta: This is my second startup. I was the co-founder of Notion Ink and most recently an entrepreneur in residence at Rocket Internet, Dubai where I helped launch two e-commerce platforms – Namschi and Mizado. I completed my Bachelors from IIT, Delhi and MBA from ISB, Hyderabad.
- Michael Pargal Lyngdoh: This is Michael’s second startup too. He was the co-founder of HST Operations (now HST Solar). Michael has travelled to more than 35 countries so far. He also managed to complete his Bachelors in Economics from St. Xavier’s, Kolkata, Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics and MBA from ISB, Hyderabad.
Tripoto is currently self-funded.
Estimation of market size?
A recent survey by Red Rocket Media reveals interesting facts about the potential market our product caters to:
- Holiday pictures are the most shared content on and after vacation
- 42% of shared content on Facebook is travel
- 55% are influenced by online searches
- 63% are influenced by others’ testimonials
- One-third of travellers would create content if they thought it would benefit their friends/family
- Gamification would motivate 10% of travellers to create content after their vacation
Source: Tnooz articles - here
Even though we have built Tripoto for everyone, our initial geographical focus on curating content is Asia. This is a market which is relatively untapped in terms of mapping of offbeat vacation destinations, personalized blogs and recommendations and we see great value in focusing our effort here.
There are some startups and established companies that are working towards similar objectives but are different in terms of ideology, and user experiences:
Revenue model and strategy for profitability?
- Maptia: Gathering travel stories and creating the most inspirational map in the world
- Tripline: Animated maps for past, present and future adventures
- Vayable (TLabs here): Discover guided experiences in various destinations (they have recently pivoted to become trip concierge)
Our current focus is on building an active community of travellers and bloggers. After that we will focus on generating revenues and profitability. There are multiple ways that can be explored to generate revenues:
What problem does the business solve?
- Trips and excursions by expert travellers
- Connecting people with expert travellers
- Hotel and flight bookings from the itineraries created on Tripoto
Tripoto solves the following problems:
- For travellers - instead of searching for information across multiple blogs and spot based recommendations, a traveller on Tripoto can go through detailed and thorough itineraries of fellow travellers, experts and guides. They can filter their search based on personality type, interests, duration and cost. If they really like a trip, they can even connect with the traveller that created the trip.
How did the initial idea evolve and were there changes/any pivots along the way in the early stages?
- For travel bloggers and sharers - Tripoto leverages technology to provide tools that enable sharing of itineraries and stories in an easy and beautiful way (either privately or publicly). Tripoto also serves as a platform wherein travellers can create a beautiful travel portfolio, expand their reach and build their personal brand.
From the start we have been focused on delivering a platform that travellers can use to share their stories easily and comprehensively. We have not yet pivoted and are working towards our mission of building the best travel sharing platform.
Why should people or companies use the business?
There are three segments of people who will share content on Tripoto:
- Travel bloggers - Tripoto allows bloggers to publish their stories and itineraries in a pulsating network of travellers. Instead of a standalone blog where you have to publish stories on a regular basis to keep it alive, Tripoto allows bloggers to publish as and when they want by ensuring that the best quality content gets the spotlight.
- Travellers - Tripoto will be a platform to create visually stunning and actionable content with minimal effort. This will be especially useful for travellers who create content for the benefit of their friends and family or share their holiday content via Facebook.
What is the strategy for raising awareness and the customer/user acquisition (apart from PR)?
- Independent guides - Tripoto allows high quality guides to offer offbeat experiences to a network of avid travellers.
- Evangelists - wee have reached out to a number of influential bloggers and avid travellers in various fields to try out our product. Through them we have been able to reach out to various segments and communities of travellers.
- Gamification - we will build a comprehensive gamification system to reward sharing of content on Tripoto. A traveller gets credits for sharing his/her travel story on Tripoto, or for inviting others to share. These credits can then be redeemed for discounts on holidays, hotels and flights.
- Contests - we will be running periodic contests for the best travel stories.
Where do you see the company in three years time and what specific challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?
- Partnerships - establishing partnerships with other travel communities.
In three years, we expect to have thousands of offbeat travel stories and itineraries on Tripoto. We also aim to have built a thriving ecosystem wherein people can make a living out of travel.
One challenge that we will face is getting people to share their travel experiences beyond the 140 characters they are used to.
We will continuously improve our sharing features and introduce clearer rewards to motivate people to share more. We will also build mobile apps so people can share their travel experiences on the go.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
There are hundreds and thousands of reviews and blogs of various destinations available online. There are millions of vacation pictures being shared on various social media platforms. How do you aggregate this plethora of information and present it in a useful way?
At Tripoto, we are making it simple for travellers to act on the content available on our platform. By mapping every single destination in the traveller’s story - along with the associated content and pictures, these itineraries become actionable. Travellers can either replicate an itinerary or collate data points from multiple travellers and even connect with them.
What other technology company would you consider yourselves most closely aligned to in terms of culture and style and why?
We love the culture and mission behind ‘Medium’. The company has a simple objective – encourage people to write meaningful stories that increase the depth of understanding or manifestos that change the world. Their focus on quality content, simplicity and collaboration resonates with us at Tripoto.
Tripoto is riding on the peer-to-peer sharing model that is hot in Asia. The number of startups in the vacation rental and tours and activities space justifies this trend.
Tripoto can be seen as a beta-version Wordpress of travel industry. The company is fixing an interesting problem of the huge pile of travel stories and other rich media available in the web.
When it comes to revenue generation, it's going to be a challenge to convince users to buy (book flights, hotels) from Tripoto given the numerous other emerging and startup travel planning companies.
Since Tripoto is a content-based startup, will it consider a media model like TripAdvisor for revenue generation? We will have to wait and see.
The company also needs a compelling gamification model for people to spend quality time in writing a detailed story about their trip.
Another challenge might come from none other than the big daddy of search - Google. Most travel stories written by travel bloggers in Tripoto might also go into their own travel blog site. In this case, the duplicate content issue might kick in and we all know what the Google Penguin rollout did to content-based sites.
Vine video of Tripoto (click the mute icon to start)