Dondoo is a web platform that advises travelers on avoiding cultural faux pas so they can impress locals and develop strong reputations in business.
Founded in 2019, Dondoo
has two employees who self-fund the business with their full-time jobs in IT.
What is your 30-second pitch to investors?
Dondoo tells you what not to do in your travel destination. A web platform preventing awkward moments and promoting local traditions, Dondoo helps you stand out with your reputation and win the respect of locals.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup.
Dondoo is an online platform allowing people to share local taboos and unwritten rules from around the world. Optimized for all devices, the platform features hand-picked content relevant to any destination with a highly sensitive focus on locality on multiple levels – region, country, state, city and airport.
Users can use the platform as a search engine as well as an interactive, user-friendly map. Unlike many other travel platforms, Dondoo cuts through the clutter with straightforward, easy-to-access information. Our partners and travel businesses level up their services with us. Keeping smiles on both travelers’ and locals’ faces provides a boost to the entire industry.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
Strengths: Product running live and being recognized; our own engine with interconnected geographical data; unique concept, original design and identity; higher added value
Weaknesses: Lack of resources to fully execute a marketing strategy; currently available only as web/online service without integration to third-parties
Opportunities: Integrations with third parties to improve their customers’ experience; global and local opportunities with unique support advertisement; product expansion (integrated app, books/films, interactive games for children); growing community and building social sustainability
Threats: Social outcome not welcome by big travel companies; difficult to keep evolving and expand in the market without external support (continue self-funded)
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
People are traveling more than ever and increasingly dealing with diverse nations. This can lead to situations in which travelers disrespect cultures due to a lack of knowledge about local customs. They fail at international business due to poor manners and breaking of norms. They are embarrassed by faux pas and awkward situations, and ultimately they are not welcome by their local hosts.
Dondoo resolves these pain points by advising people on different customs and norms, helping them to impress counterparts in business, while increasing enjoyment, avoiding embarrassment and treating locals like they want to be treated.
So you’ve got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?
We will boost audience adoption and gain market position by strengthening brand recognition, increasing content and added value on social networks, getting support from ambassadors with recognized reach, and sharing educational videos, infographics and other material. Depending on funds, we will run targeted promotions and campaigns to increase word-of-mouth recommendations and utilize gamification in enriching content. Ultimately, great SEO structure with valuable content is the key, and we have that.
Tell us what process you’ve gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
We have all experienced awkward situations on our journeys where we have unintentionally disrespected other cultures. We believe that no traveler wants to disrespect others or lose out on multinational business contracts due to a lack of awareness of local customs. Travel guides and blogs do not cover essential needs of travelers; they often lack information on cultural norms.
How and when will you make money?
We’ll make money from integrations with third parties (airlines, bookings, agencies) that provide our content as a supplement to travel documents sent to their customers (commissions). Once we get better traction, we can pursue unique local advertisements and promotions, premium books and printed material and branded merchandise.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?
Until now, we have funded everything from our own pockets and savings. Despite having full-time IT jobs, minimal resources and limited time, having a clear vision has enabled us to create a global product that is continuously gaining traction.
How have you addressed diversity and inclusion within your business?
That is the essence of our business. In an age when human interaction is fading in importance, Dondoo aims to revive in-person encounters. We help people to interact with each other without fear of unintentionally committing cultural faux pas. We are not only encouraging the diversity and values of all the different nations, but we also nourish them for future generations. We call it social and cultural sustainability.
What’s been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?
Apart from self-funding everything and working during our spare time, the difficult part started after launching the product. To succeed in the field of travel market, making your service stand out and getting discovered require unicorn-like efforts and resources.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact - so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
The impact and added value we provide is priceless and not materialistic. We trigger positive emotions, praise human values and foster respect. Travelers seek minimal, practical information about their destination to experience authentic wandering. This is where Dondoo unites this evolving mentality with a simple yet genius concept: what NOT to do in your destination.
A year from now, what state do you think your startup will be in?
We will be an alternative and recognized source of cultural information, equipping travelers with cultural knowledge so they are ready to show respect and pay homage to all the diverse nations around the world. We will be integrated in travel businesses to increase their customers’ experience.
What is your end-game? (Going public, acquisition, growing and staying private, etc)
Anything can happen. While growing and staying private would be fulfilling, an acquisition that allows Dondoo to expand would also be a good option.
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