Startup pitch: Bucketlistly ties life travel goals to community
Bucket lists have been a widespread means of tracking “before I die” goals, reaching peak popularity with “The Bucket List” movie featuring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
Startups have popped up here and there to make these lists easier to track with each employing different tactics to push users to achieve goals.
The latest in the bucket list niche is Bucketlistly, from Bangkok-based designer and developer Peter Rojwongsuriya. The app allows users to create lists, track accomplishments and share those achievements with social networks.
By offering up the social proof element, Bucketlistly is aiming to encourage actual achievements rather than simply dormant list creation.
Users can then share the full story of a particular accomplishment through a unique “Top Story” functionality that both functions as a community builder and idea suggestion engine.
This feature on its own sets Bucketlistly apart from the pack, as it’s an engaging way to browse other users’ accomplishments as inspiration. This inspiration can then easily be translated into action via list placement.
Co-founder Rojwongsuriya, who is the sole founder and bootstrapper, shares the Vine below, and answers more about the vision and path forward for Bucketlistly.
Tell us how you founded the company, why and what made you decide to jump in and create the business.
In 2011, I was invited to speak at a Mobile Monday conference in Beijing about the first startup I created called MyColorscreen. It was the first time I have ever given a speech and my first time in China.
As I was thinking about how surreal this was, I realized that there isn’t any service that I could use to accumulate all these first-time experiences, a place where I could share my travel stories, lessons learned, and help others in the process. That’s when the idea of BucketListly was born.
After I came back from China for a few months, I sold MyColorscreen to another US-based company, which freed me up to finally pursue another passion of mine: travel. I decided to travel around Asia, and while doing that, I also put my plan to build BucketListly in motion and eventually launched 2 years ago.
What is the size of the team, names of founders, management roles and key personnel?
The team consists of only me: Pete Rojwongsuriya, a founder, a Rails developer, UI/UX designer and every other parts of the business.
What is your estimation of market size?
We are aiming at the young tech savvy travelers.
According to the research: UNWTO estimates that around 20% of the 940 million international tourists traveling the world in 2010. By 2020 there will be almost 300 million international youth trips per year, which represents a 59% growth in 10 years.
Who do you see as competition for the service?
The concept of Bucket List has been around for ages. There are many old competitors such 43things.com, lifespace.com, and others, although they are currently stuck with old technologies. There are also fresh competitors such as Everest.com.
What is your revenue model and strategy for profitability?
Currently we are focusing on building a huge audience first and then we will refocus our effort into integrating with other established travel businesses and affiliates.
What problem does the business solve?
As social networks like Facebook grew larger and larger, the relevancy of the content also reduced dramatically.
We aim to solve this problem by providing people an inspirational place for them to talk about their travel life, what they learned, how can they help others not to make the same mistake and eventually let people collaborate with like minded others to achieve something bigger.
How did the initial idea evolve and were there changes/any pivots along the way in the early stages?
They weren’t any pivots but we did a major redesign of the website 3 months ago in an aim to refocus our audience to just tech savvy travelers (before it was all over the place) and to focus more on providing a tool for traveler to tell stories rather than just create a bucket list and not follow through.
Why should people or companies use the business?
I am a type of person that can be influenced easily by the people who I feel are far better than me.
When I was in Myanmar, I met a French woman who told me a story about the time she climbed the Kilimanjaro. I was so inspired that when I was back, I started planning my first trekking trip ever to the Himalayas alone (and I did it!).
I wanted to recreate such an inspiring experience that pushes you to do things you never think you can do. It worked for me multiple times, and I truly believe it will work for our users who really wants to improve themselves.
What is the strategy for raising awareness and the customer/user acquisition (apart from PR)?
We do a lot of things. We write blogs over at http://blog.bucketlistly.com
I also curate the best travel stories we found over at Twitter (@BucketListly) and participate in a travel community event, #ttot (Travel Talk on Twitter) every Tuesday to share my travel stories.
Where do you see the company in three years time and what specific challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?
We plan to expand our reach and become a platform where everyone share their stories together and come to collaborate to accomplish more amazing goals.
In 3 years, we also want to become the go-to platform for travel businesses to interact with their past clients, but first and foremost, we will have to build a product people really love and that’s all we are focusing right now.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
When people travel, they usually have great stories that they learned along the way, that could someday help someone to pursue the same goals. It would a shame if this knowledge is lost as time passed.
What other technology company would you consider yourselves most closely aligned to in terms of culture and style… and why?
AirBNB and Instagram are great companies that I look up to. Instagram was lean (before it was acquired). They focused on building a community and a product people love rather than focus on making money. AirBNB also focused on building a community around the property sharing concept. We are trying to do the same, but for travelers’ bucket lists.
While the idea is nothing new, it does seem that many of the other startups offering bucket list-style offerings are not as modern as Bucketlistly. There was a time when this concept was really popular, much of it was in a pre-mobile era. The way that the mobile has become the center of consumers’ lives, especially while traveling, means that any company that wants to thrive must focus on a product with a mobile mentality. This is one of the areas where Bucketlistly does well.
The ability to be inspired by other users’ achievements is also a different take on the travel inspiration process, and is one that many destination marketers and tour operators might be compelled to pay for access to.
It also allows for a feeling of accomplishment in the travel space, while also encouraging completion of larger, more difficult travel goals.
Traction via an engaged community is the startups number one challenge. In order to build appeal with travel companies, and/or to develop a revenue stream via affiliates, the startup will need the traffic to realize revenue. With an attractive, responsive, on-trend design and straightforward UX, Bucketlistly is on the right track, product-wise.
NB: Bucket list image courtesy Shutterstock.
Nick Vivion is a writer and strategist. He was a Tnooz reporter and global events lead between August 2012 and July 2015. He was the launch co-founder of Booty's, a global street food restaurant in New Orleans and was recently AVP Operations, North America, at Zomato.