NewsTLabs Showcase - TourzThis article was originally published onBy Kevin May | October 12, 2010 TLabs Showcase focus on startups featuring Singapore-based (currently conceptual) virtual tour planning site Tourz.NB: Tourz is appearing at the WITovation Entrepreneur Bootcamp in Singapore on Monday 18 October 2010.Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?Our team comprises of three members who play a vital role in the development of this project. We have highlighted the current stand of ourselves (i.e. where are we from and from which university), the ultimate individual future goal in life, our contribution towards the project and a one line statement that describes our beliefs and goals which connect us to the future. Pranav Pradeep Sharma: Currently pursuing MBA [Human Resources] from James Cook University, Singapore. He is from Mumbai, India and has a hotel and tourism management related background. He focuses on the marketing and design segment of the project.Giri Konda Varadaraj: Currently pursuing MBA [Finance and Accounting] from James Cook University, Singapore. He is from Coimbatore, India and has an engineering-related background. He plays an important role in the financial aspects of the project and also helps in engineering the project alongside Pranav and Mithru.Mithru Vigneshwara: Currently pursuing BA [Honors] Media Art (Interactive Art) from Lasalle College of Arts, Singapore. He is from Chennai, India and has a science related background.What financial support did you have to launch the business?We had the idea and used our own personal funds in constructing the beta version of our product. This initial investment adds up to a 30% part of the total required investment.We hope the remaining 70% required will be earned by gaining the trust of investors who believe that our product has the capability of being more of a need than being a want.What problem are you trying to solve?We are providing an aid for the tourists to tour around their desired tourist destination with ease and along with this we are trying to bridge in the relationships between hotels, tourism and food and beverage outlets.Our software is going to be a more of a personal itinerary for the tourist who can not only view the details of a particular place, but visit the place virtually, which helps in promoting the idea of digital travel space.The software is user friendly and the tourist can tap into a variety of things together from hotel accommodation to selection of transportation to reaching tourist spots, finding nearby food and beverage joints and heading back to the hotel.We are constructing the software in such a manner that the tourist doesn’t even require an online connectivity to tour around the place.Describe the business, core products and services?Tourz is an online flash and Java project built for tourism companies and for those planning plan to visit a destination. We capture a destination visually for a particular country, state or city and then with the aid of digital means convert it into a Flash or Java program for the tourist.In effect the software acts as a role play game, allowing the tourist to move around the environment, changeing the view, zoom in and zoom out at the location.The visit is for a limited time frame, helping build curiosity in a tourist’s mind of what more is on offer.Tourz details information on food and beverage outlets, transportation and hotels. We are currently focusing on Singapore, although we plan to target other locations in the Asia-Pacific region in the future.Who are your key customers and users at launch?Our product is meant for both business and leisure travellers, with options eventually to download the application to smartphones. Catering to the needs of the leisure market is our current goal and objective.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?Yes, a set of customers did validate our idea when we were on the structuring stage of our project.They also noted many key points which helped in reengineering our idea and implementing plans for our future and objectives.Not only did this help in building our core competencies but it also helped in realizing a potential possible present and arising competitive threats. Keeping this in mind we have structured our plans in order to gain a competitive advantage over possible competitors.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?The business and revenue model for our product is the more related to the idea of market penetration, which has made us to set our product price in such a way that is reasonably priced to many consumers and can attract a large audience.We plan on maintaining the same price outside the Singapore Region when we venture elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region.Our strategy foir profitability lies in earning revenue by the means of advertisement from hotels, food and beverage outlets, and tourism agencies.We are planning to integrate some booking options for hotels allowing us to earn revenue through commissions.SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?Strengths: The strength of our product lies in its flexibility. Being completely virtual in its approach, a tourist can develop better understanding which helps in promoting the user friendly approach. A tourist can plan his travel visit accordingly with the aid of this product. He or she can make their tour more comfortable and can travel with ease. Weakness: Limited resources are challenge for us. The product might be user friendly for the end users, but its construction carries a high level of complexity. Opportunities: Growth and expansion of the travel and technology markets, which will play a key element in the growth of our product. Threats: Possible entry of rival companies can be observed as there is a massive opportunity on the horizon.Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?There were quite a few people who suggested the idea would not be successful. Few of them mentioned valuable points which we believed to be good enough and hence we incorporated them into our project.On the other hand there were a few people who didn’t support our idea at all. However, we still worked on the construction of our project as we believed that we can reach out to the people and aid them in any possible manner, no matter how tough the challenge might be.What is your success metric 12 months from now?Taking into consideration that we receive possible support from venture capitalist and attain the possible required resources for the construction of our project, we believe that we would have been able to complete the entire project in Singapore, earning in revenue from our clients, remodeling certain elements and enhancing our product and looking into venturing to a new possible location in Asia-Pacific region, where Tourz again will help tourist to “Visit with their Imagination".NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.