TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Israel-based trip planning service Plnnr.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Plnnr was founded by two experienced technologists and avid travellers, Mosi Shuchman and Imri Goldberg who share the same passion for developing innovative tools to help travellers making the most out of their trips.
We are based in Tel-Aviv Israel with offices in San Francisco.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Till now Plnnr is self-funded. We have managed by doing pretty much everything ourselves working around the clock with the help and support of good people along the way. However we are just about to start seeking our first round of funding.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Building a complete trip plan requires a lot of energy and skill – you need to consider many details, and make many choices:
Deciding which attractions to visit and align them to optimized daily routes considering â€“ location, operation days and opening hours
Matching with hotel vacancies, flight schedules and ground transportation options
Meeting budget objectives by comparing prices, and choosing between alternatives
All these tasks require collecting information from many places. However, this is not enough. The core of the problem is coordinating all this information to create a working itinerary.
With too many decisions to make, most of us fail and go without a plan, or at most we decide a few things and improvise on the go.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Plnnr is an online travel website that automatically generates trip plans according to peopleâ€™s wishes.
By aggregating travel information available on the web and analyzing simple facts that people provide, Plnnr builds a ready-to-use, personalized schedule and route for every day of the planned trip.
What makes Plnnr unique is that it combines the best information from the web to create a workable and customized travel plan:
- Similar to a best friend, Plnnr recommends the places to visit in each city.
- Similar to a GPS, Plnnr builds routes and gives directions on how to get to places.
We currently offer trip planning in several destination cities including NYC, London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Prague, Dublin, Washington DC, San Francisco, Toronto and additional cities are being added continuously.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Plnnr is designed for the large market of leisure travel. Whether it be travelling with kids, going on a romantic getaway, or a first time visit to a desired destination.
Currently we focus on English speaking demographics.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Yes. We have been in open beta for a year, focusing on one city (Paris, France) which served as a testing bed.
We have collected feedback and usage patterns from thousands of users to perfect our planning algorithm and user experience.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Travelers who use Plnnr get the opportunity to book hotels through our partners. Our partners make sure they get the best deal on hotels that match the itinerary created using Plnnr.
When our customers review those hotels, Plnnr receives a commission.
SWOT analysis â€“ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Excellent (and smart) technology
- Enthusiastic and experienced team
- Love for travel
- Great product
- Being a small bootstrap
- â€śUnderdogsâ€ť from a small corner of the world
- Too much information on the web that needs organizing
- People looking for ways to absorb information, not get much more of it
- Inability to grow fast enough and add destinations like our customers demand
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
When we have just started we met a friend, a very experienced technologist who previously worked as CTO at a travel startup.
Although he immediately understood Plnnrâ€™s potential he pointed out that itâ€™s tough to get noticed in the online travel business crowded by huge brands.
We said thanks and carried on because the online market is dynamic. It embraces and elevates new innovative solutions that utilize the power of the web to make life easier.
As we believe Plnnr solves a true overlooked problem, has a strong and smart technology and provides great UX, we are motivated to pursue our vision.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
We care about two things – how many visitors to our site successfully plan a complete trip, and how happy they are with the results after they return from their trip.
NB: Here is a clip to explain more.