TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based Triposo, a free travel content and trip planning system for Android, iPad and iPhone.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
We are Triposo. We're a travel start up focused on making free travel guides for mobile devices using algorithms. We're five guys now:
- Douwe Osinga, my brother. He was with Google for the last seven years. The last project he worked on was Google Wave.
- Jon Tirsen was also on the Wave Team at Google. He is our tech lead.
- Vincent Osinga is another brother. He's our iOS developer and he's great with mapping stuff as well.
- Alex Balut is working on the development or our Android apps. He's worked for the Zurich office of Google so he's the third ex-Googler in our team.
- And then there's me, Richard Osinga.
We will probably be joined by a designer in December. Until then we will be working with freelancers.
What's special about the team is that we work distributed. We get together every two to three months and do what we call a Jamboree. First we got together in Sydney, then in San Francisco and now in Amsterdam. Next Jamboree will probably be in Asia.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
We raised $525,000 from angels. They include Chris Sacca one of the first investors in Twitter and Lars Rasmussen, the founder of Google Maps.
What problem are you trying to solve?
When you travel you don't want to plan to much ahead. Our apps will give you the answer to the question what you should do. We approach this answer by using algorithms. We gather as much data as we can.
Where do people take pictures? At what times? What were the weather conditions? But we also analyze texts describing places of interest.
Describe the business, core products and services?
We use all this information to create Apps for Android and iOS. These apps help users make travel decisions. They work offline and include a (detailed) map.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Our apps have been downloaded about 500,000 times.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Yes, we launched as soon as we had a product worth launching. Maybe even a bit before that ;-) "If you're not ashamed of your product when you launch it, you've probably shipped too late," as Reid Hoffman puts it.
When we launched our first Android guide for Milan it had one restaurant. Blush. Anyway, we've come a long way since then. We're starting to get pretty proud and we still have a whole bunch of ideas to make our product better.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Our apps will be free. We want as many people as possible to use them. When people use our apps to decide what to do next we will be able to present them with commercial options, clearly separated from our content.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- We move fast, we have a great team.
- We can be overenthusiastic launching stuff.
- The holy grail of travel is within reach!
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- We're operating in an area that interests the big players, like Google, Facebook or Foursquare.
There were people who said you can't do a startup like this as a distributed team. We think you can. We work very efficiently and we love our Jamborees. At those times there's little distractions and you can focus on the product.
So in the current phase we think that the people who gave that advice were, well... wrong. At least, in the current phase of our startup.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
We want to be the best travel app. When we look at metrics: we want to have over 25 millions of minutes spent using our app / month.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.