TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Poland-based PlaceKnow, a new platform which uses images and community to promote destinations.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Placeknow is a new global startup that allows people, companies and local tourism organizations to share their hometown photos.
Why? To show people from all over the world how their hometown really looks like, what is worth seeing, where are the best places to eat tasty food and what happens in the city during the their time at a destination (events, concerts, parades etc.)
We decided to create Placeknow.com when three guys who were working in an interactive agency met up with fund representatives and in result of brainstorming they found a niche in social media services.
The idea was an answer to one question: how foreign football-fans will be looking for information about Polish cities they plan to visit during Euro 2012?
Today/ nowadays when we look for some information and photos about places we’re planning to visit, we start with Wikipedia, Google Images and sometimes TripAdvisor, if it’s a tourist destination.
People don’t have time for visiting numerous websites and searching for images of: attractions, nightlife, citizens and even food or vehicles.
Now you can find it out on Placeknow.
Some details about our team:
- Lukasz Sobanski (26 years old) – co-founder / CEO
- Konrad SzweidziÅ„ski (38 years old) co-founder / President
- Piotr BoliÅ„ski (43 years old) co-founder
- Tomasz SzczÄ™sny (25 years old) project manager
We have also four programmers and one designer in our team.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
For Placeknow we’ve invested total $90,000
What problem are you trying to solve?
Placeknow is a new social networking service addressed to users who look for information about various places all over the world; it comes as a spot within the network where its users may easily find photos presenting the town they were looking for, or just get to know its residents and visitors.
Placeknow is a new way of learning about the world and people. Users can share with each other photo collections of towns they live in or destinations they visited.
What we strive for is to develop our portal to an important tool in a daily work of local editors and organizations dealing with promotion of the region on the daily basis.
Gamification determinants introduced to the portal in form of points one may get for adding a picture and for being an active user of the portal additionally motivate users and make them more eager to come back soon.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Placeknow gives its users great functionality:
- Dashboard – place when you can see all activities matched with places and users you follow
- Following user and places
- Add and manage your local and travel photos
- Individual for each user interactive World Map
- See other people profiles, photos, places, details
- Communicate: send messages, make groups, add comments
- Collect points for added photos – they allow you to start new competitions
- Search places
We also have similar functionality in Placeknow’s mobile apps (iOS and Android).
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Customers from all over the world. We launched with an English version, so users should use it to communicate and understand commands.
- Users who are looking for some information about the chosen town/city/la
- Users who are planning a trip to the specific destination (e.g. holidays, a business trip)
- Users who are staying in the town, looking for some information or contacts
- Users who are interested in photo reports only from some selected towns
- People interested in tourism and photography
- Town/city councils and tourism organizations dealing with promotion of the town/township or region
- Local editors (web-portals, newspapers), inserting reference marks of their photo reports
- Travelers and backpackers â€“ gaining observers and sponsors for their own trips
- Photographers â€“ promoting their accomplishments
- Local companies – promotion services via pictures (restaurants, hotels etc.)
- Any brands related to the tourism branch – tool that serves the purpose of promoting events and offers (travel agencies)
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Before we’ve started working with software and mobile apps, we talked about project with businessmen and some city governments. We’ve got very good feedback.
Placeknow has been online for two months, and during that short time we have seen some good signs: new official accounts of cities and brands (e.g. TravelChannel or Poznaj-Swiat the biggest polish travel magazine).
We reached over 10,000 photos during the first month.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
At this moment we concentrate on functionality for our users, our project business model provides:
- Revenue from advertisements and sponsored links – implementing a tool that allows to start up and target advertising campaigns by companies and brands on their own
- Revenue from selling virtual products/extras (e.g. an extra of creating a virtual holiday post-card or an e-album including pictures from trips/excursions)
- Revenue from affiliate systems of global partners (e.g. Hotels.com, Booking.com and others)
- Sale of premium subscription of official accounts (accounts of town councils, tourism agencies and companies)
- Any other websites or services (e.g. cooperation with companies creating virtual geo-location games)
- E-commerce/partnerships items (e.g. group shopping â€“ offers within a specified localization, e-bookshop: tour guides)
- Advertising campaigns for mobile devices â€“ using iOS and Android applications
SWOT analysis â€“ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- We concentrate on local markets and citizens. Placeknow saves users time – we think is the only right way for startup.
- It’s no easy to find users from all the world (both small villages and big cities).
- It’s an innovative project, people like it.
- We need to find big fund to realize all project we have planned.
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
Some Polish venture capital companies who still believe a startup from Poland is unable to become a global success.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
- 10 million users
- More than 200 million photos
- Users from all continents