TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based trip planning and destination service platform Triptrotting.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
We are two best friends (Aigerim Duiseneyeva and Shana Zheng), avid travelers and entrepreneurs who believe that traveling is about out-of-the box experiences and friendships you can take home.
After working in the corporate world and in investment banking fields, we decided to pursue our passion and share our vision for travel experience with others through Triptrotting.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Triptrotting started with a small personal loan from our families who believed in us. Â From there, the company received support through the University of Southern Californiaâ€™s Seed Investment Competition as a 2nd place winner in the graduate level.
Although the first version of our site was far from substantial, the power of the idea received an overwhelming demand around the world in the college community.
Triptrotting was most recently funded by Bill Grossâ€™ Idealab to build a more robust platform and expand our footprint around the world.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Traveling is about the experience, and so often people find themselves on tour buses and taken advantage of as a clueless tourist.
For young travelers especially, trying to get a unique travel experience is even more difficult, let alone meeting people who are like-minded.
Triptrotting allows travelers and like-minded peers to meet one another and create meaningful relationship through cultural exchange and networking.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Triptrotting is a global community of travelers and local hosts, who are matched together based on similar interests. Through our online portal a traveler can locate a like-minded local host to show him/her the city from the eyes of a local and a host can expand his/her network without ever leaving the home city.
From a short meet up for bite to eat or tour of the city to overnight stays, Triptrotting will matches travelers and hosts with those who they are actually interested in meeting.
Travelers pay the host a tip based on the type of meet up. Â The payment is transferred to the host only post a satisfactory rating after the trip.
Hosts are able to either cash out the tip or convert the payment into a donation to one of our partner nonprofit organizations (including Wokai, B1G1, Flying Kites, Give Running to name a few). Â The website includes features such as member reviews, ratings, messaging and more.
The site is currently open to verified members who are associated with a universities and companies or know a current member.
You can also join by requesting to be verified by our staff. Â This will help keep up the quality of our members and help maintain the safety of our community.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Our key demographic currently is students, professionals, and people who are between 18 to 35 years old.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Before approaching investors, we shared our idea with various universities and received support working with many study abroad programs. The concept was widely accepted and encouraged us to grow into other locations and demographics world-wide.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Triptrotting matches travelers and hosts for successful meet ups and charges a small transaction fee based on the tip travelers pay to the hosts.
The model is successful when people make meaningful connections. Â We work with location representatives in various universities around the world and also use social media to spread the word.
SWOT analysis â€“ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Diversity and quality of our customer base. Â Members are all verified representing universities, professional organizations and companies.
- Having to educate travelers that the option of meeting locals who can help enhance their trips more than just guided tours is available.
- To become a disruptive service in an industry that focuses mostly on packaged tours and reservation products.
Who advised you your idea isnâ€™t going to be successful and why didnâ€™t you listen to them?
From the time this idea was on a napkin, we received tremendous support from everyone. Â We have been extremely lucky and have worked hard to see the idea grow into where it is today.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Metrics for success include the scalability of our site and successful traveler/host meet ups.
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