TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based Facebook-led trip social recommendation engine Feedkite.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Feedkite is a free social travel web app that allows you to search & browse all travel destinations visited by your friends, and in the process get travel inspiration and word-of-mouth advice for your own future travel adventure.
Feedkite automatically identifies all the places your friends have ever traveled to through photos they share on Facebook.Â We are building a social travel graph by identifying & organizing all the authentic travel resources buried inside our social networks.
Feedkite is founded by Roy Arsan, a long-time Facebook Platform developer with background in social web.
Two months after launch, Feedkite now has over 30,000 travel destinations backed by peopleâ€™s real travel experiences and photo albums.
Feedkite Facebook app was recently handpicked by Mashable to be on its list of “Apps to Enhance Your Digital Lifestyle”, part of the Spark of Genius Series.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Bootstrapped since initial concept design in early Fall 2010.
What problem are you trying to solve?
If you are seeking trusted friendsâ€™ advice for a trip to say, Rio de Janeiro, most social travel sites out there simply provides you with a way to broadcast to your entire social network to solicit travel tips, hoping someone may eventually answer.
Instead, with Feedkite, we show you all your Facebook friends who have ever traveled there alongside their relevant authentic photo albums from Facebook.
This gives you the power to be proactive while seeking travel advice, connect with the right friends, and browse photos like a personalized travel magazine.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Feedkite identifies the location, when applicable, for all data (like photos) shared by a userâ€™s Facebook friends, to visually surface all their trips.
As a result, Feedkite is your Travel Feed, where you can not only follow friendsâ€™ current travels and receive real-time notification of travels, but also search and browse past travels.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Feedkite is ideal to:
- Keep track of trips and whereabouts of family & friends (through an easier alternative to consume friendsâ€™ photos and updates on Facebook)
- Get personally tailored travel advice and/or inspiration/escapism (through a more personalized way to browse travel content)
There is a high adoption rate among 20 to 35 year old people with some nationwide and/or worldwide friend connections. These people have a higher tendency to like travel, or be inspired to travel, or simply want to keep up with friends across the world.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Yes, we initially launched to a limited set of users and we saw very high engagement factors, with some users even coming back on daily basis to see their friends latest travels and whereabouts.
Soon after that, we launched the travel search and browse features which were greatly received, as users discovered the wealth of travel information they have access to directly through their own friends.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Feedkite aims to become the de facto first stage in todayâ€™s consumer travel planning, and that is travel inspiration and recommendation based on one’s social graph.
Feedkite not only knows where you are and where you and your friends have traveled, Â but where you may have an interest in traveling to based on your travel search and browse activities. This opens a unique opportunity to provide personally tailored travel deals and recommendations.
SWOT analysis â€“ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Team: Facebook platform expertise
- Large target audience
- Validated concept (High Engagement)
- User familiarity with product interface (news feed)
- Dependant on user trusting & giving access to a Facebook Application
- Travel is only recently becoming more social with many innovations yet to come.
- Age of relevant content: With the low signal-to-noise ratio in many Facebook usersâ€™ news feed, there is a need for specialized social content to be distributed into verticals (e.g. travel, food, finance, ..). This need is compounded with the ephemeral nature of a Facebook news feed story which has such a short a life span that it is often missed.
- Businesses moving to Facebook: users are increasingly spending more time on Facebook that many businesses are moving inside the Facebook platform. To leverage this, Feedkite is an Application inside Facebook with similar look-and-feel as Facebook so that users enjoy a nice seamless experience.
- Competition in social travel.
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
Weâ€™ve received positive feedback and people were genuinely enthusiastic about Feedkite. Weâ€™re actively working on improving our geotagging process as weâ€™re determined to create the best social travel product for our users.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Continued growth in active user base to hundreds of thousands of Feedkiters consuming personally tailored authentic travel resources.