Founded about 18 months ago, Mapify is a mobile-first platform that aims to improve the trip planning experience. The startup has raised $1.3 million to date and counts Airbnb among its partners.
The company is currently focusing on millennial travelers in Europe, but it has global content and plans to establish a presence in the United States next.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup.
Mapify uses a mobile‐first technology platform to unify the fractioned travel space. We are creating a platform on which users can effectively organize their travel life and visualize it for a global community. Backed by artificial intelligence technology, Mapify is keeping the global network in sync about what is relevant, how to plan most efficiently and share most interestingly.
What inspired you to create this company?
Back in late 2016, I had the chance to spend some weeks off, and I wanted to go on a road trip along the West Coast in the United States. Little did I know, it took me hours and days to get an idea of the route, where to get a car, how and where to spend the nights, things to see, things you definitely don’t want to miss, how to meet other travelers on the way and basically just how to have a good time on the road. This was the moment I realized there’s a huge lack in the individual leisure travel market that asks to be filled.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
- Strengths: Highly diverse skillset in our entire team
- Weaknesses: We travel too much
- Opportunities: The social media generation
- Threats: Fear of change in the travel market
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
From the customer perspective, we have already reduced the pain of finding travel inspiration long before their actual journey. One step further, we supply them with the most necessary travel information for their journey and give them a visually pleasing way to finally plan their journey.
Next up will be much more convenient processes of these features. So all in all, we aim to make traveling as much fun as it should be.
From the industry perspective, we offer new ways to reach potential customers and get precise targeting to the needed customer groups.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?
Mapify is already growing quickly through re-shares of users on social media and word‐of‐mouth. We are continuously working on making the product even better to increase Mapify’s organic growth.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
Mapify has the potential to reach the entire global leisure travel market. However, we are currently focusing on the millennial leisure travel market in Europe to build our initial user base.
Through our very successful work with influencers on Instagram, we have established Mapify as one of the strongest new brands in the European travel market in 2018.
How and when will you make money?
Mapify generates revenue through in‐depth partnerships with travel companies around the globe such as Airbnb. By combining different travel services in one single mobile platform, we have seen increasing interest amongst the top players in the travel industry to become part of the Mapify platform.
Our future plans include premium guides from known travelers all around the globe, collaborative travel planning at your fingertips and complete travels organized by Mapify.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?
Magnus Langanke (CTO): 23‐year‐old former CS student, co‐founded two IT companies together with Patrick, Sebastian and David before Mapify.
Sebastian Haede (CPO): 20‐year‐old former CS student, co‐founded two IT companies before Mapify.
Patrick Haede (CEO): Former law student with stations at Bucerius Law and Stanford Law, dropped out of a CS program at MIT to pursue Mapify full-time.
David Pflugpeil (iOS lead): 20‐year‐old former economics student who won an Apple scholarship as one of the youngest app developers on the App Store in 2015.
Tobias Schnorpfeil (COO): Former self‐taught professional filmmaker working for global brands like Porsche.
Having every necessary skill already in the founders team, we don’t have to rely on others to get the work done.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?
We are a very diverse and fast team, one of the factors making it one of the strongest product teams in the European travel market right now. However, our global approach in terms of market and users, as well as team members (we have people in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Munich and Berlin), brings challenges in keeping everyone up to date on the company’s process.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact ‐ so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
Our product and product vision is fundamentally different to anything there’s been out there so far. Our mission is so big that most people told us it is actually impossible, and now they want to invest in Mapify. We’re the necessary next step in the evolution of travel.