TLabs Showcase – myTab
TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based travel gift and planning platform myTab.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Leveraging social media, myTab allows us to set up travel wish lists that friends can gift towards, while giving portions to our favorite eco charity.
MyTab Inc was founded by Heddi Cundle (Big Cheese) and the team includes:
- Virender Ahluwalia (Number Cruncher)
- Andrew Rubey (Visual Genius)
- Patricia Navarro (Chief Coder)
- David Ang (Chief Developer).
- Tom Foremski – Siliconvalleywatcher.com
- Ken Swanton – Online/offline travel veteran CEO
- Nathan Beckord – Start Up CFA
- Sam Rehman – Principal Architect.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
MyTab is self funded & we’re bootstrapping – that rainy day really is being utilized! We’re talking with investors about seed funding and obviously interested in hearing from others, especially as we have an original & lucrative business model.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
We repeat the same travel booking patterns because there’s no loyalty incentive:
- Spending hours scouring for best prices
- Organizer recouping cash for group trips
- Frustration with reward point restrictions
- Disappointed by last minute price increases.
Whilst great travel sites include recommendations, booking, planning etc, they only address one piece of the puzzle. At the end of the day, the user wants the best price. myTab encapsulates all these problems through the simple art of gifting.
Describe the business, core products and services?
- Sign up for free, import Facebook friends and shout-out: “Yo, my birthday/wedding/trip’s coming up, just put it on myTab” so pals can gift you cash for wish list travel.
- Plan and save: set group or individual reminders and trip dates while you save myCash for travel. Also comment on friends trips and gift others.
- Book travel: search on myTab or let us “Match myCash” (matching trips/savings). Just top up myCash at time of booking, if short of savings.
- Yell on Facebook about your future trip and thank all friends who gifted you.
NB: All shout-outs post to a user’s (or pal’s) Facebook wall.
- Set a myTab.co/username in myAccount so non-Facebook friends can gift you (personal, team-in-training, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs, school fundraiser, wedding/honeymoon, philanthropy) i.e. myTab.co/JohnSmith or myTab.co/JohnSarahWedding or myTab.co/HaitiRelief
- Donate some myCash to an eco charity after you book travel. Seamlessly paying forward is so ultra hip now
- We offer US originating domestic & outbound travel. We will expand shortly. Our global friends can still gift US pals for now. Must be over-18 to use myTab – parents can set up accounts on behalf of their kids.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Our partners are Expedia, Wcities and PayPal. We have targets in mind but prefer flexibility for now. Our users include anyone booking personal, business or group travel, fundraiser groups, disaster volunteer relief charities etc. MyTab’s potential in diverse gifting has no limits.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
We held three focus groups from initial design flow to alpha and private beta along with industry experts. Everyone has confirmed it’s so simple, a gem and incredibly effective.
The guilt-free bail-out of gifting friends travel cash combined with the full cycle pre-post travel makes the user feel in absolute control and a sense of achievement. That’s why myTab has “brilliant” action buttons instead of boring “confirm/submit” buttons!
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Business model includes:
- Affiliate travel partner commissions
- Discreet mobile web app advertising (within time)
- Match myCash deals with suppliers
- Selling non individual user statistics to third parties – a secret sauce!
We have a bundle of future business objectives in 2011 and 2012. Revenue model is unique as we’re an ally to the travel industry along with viral/crowdsourcing through gifting promoted on social platforms.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- A fantastic simple mash up of ecommerce, social media and travel through everyday gifting. This has not been done before in online travel. Our secret sauce is our greatest commodity. While other travel sites are targeting users, myTab’s proving to be excellent at targeting the friends/gifters.
- Being a start up always attracts copycats yet our pronounced branding, identity and energy will ensure we’re the leader of the pack. Our name and slogan (“put it on myTab”) will be synonymous along with our highly acclaimed logo (Kevin Bacon).
- The user’s focus was looking for the lowest travel price, until now. With myTab, gifting and saving dilutes the trip price hype. Ironically, because of our platform, we have greater bargaining with travel affiliates. Ultimately, this then helps both our users & travel affiliates alike for supply and demand.
- Everyone and no one. Established travel sites will have a big struggle integrating the same features and model we have. Smaller isolated-objective sites need to be excellent at one thing so by adding features to copycat myTab will saturate their philosophical vision and also confuse the user.
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
Virtually no one. Our most common response was “this is so simple”, “it’s a no brainer”. Even having a single founder, female, first-time startup entrepreneur, no-one’s frowned on these statistics because myTab makes sense, regardless. We’ve had continuous thumbs up!
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
- The main success would be life-changing gifting achievements:
- Overseas disaster relief volunteers
- Featured eco charities receiving amazing donations
- Philanthropy integrated as standard.
At myTab, we’re just proud to be laying the foundation for users to exceed their own expectations.
Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.