Triposo lets algorithms be your trip planning guide

TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based Triposo, a free travel content and trip planning system for Android, iPad and iPhone.

Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?

We are Triposo. We’re a travel start up focused on making free travel guides for mobile devices using algorithms. We’re five guys now:

  • Douwe Osinga, my brother. He was with Google for the last seven years. The last project he worked on was Google Wave.
  • Jon Tirsen was also on the Wave Team at Google. He is our tech lead.
  • Vincent Osinga is another brother. He’s our iOS developer and he’s great with mapping stuff as well.
  • Alex Balut is working on the development or our Android apps. He’s worked for the Zurich office of Google so he’s the third ex-Googler in our team.
  • And then there’s me, Richard Osinga.

We will probably be joined by a designer in December. Until then we will be working with freelancers.

What’s special about the team is that we work distributed. We get together every two to three months and do what we call a Jamboree. First we got together in Sydney, then in San Francisco and now in Amsterdam. Next Jamboree will probably be in Asia.

What financial support did you have to launch the business?

We raised $525,000 from angels. They include Chris Sacca one of the first investors in Twitter and Lars Rasmussen, the founder of Google Maps.

What problem are you trying to solve?

When you travel you don’t want to plan to much ahead. Our apps will give you the answer to the question what you should do. We approach this answer by using algorithms. We gather as much data as we can.

Where do people take pictures? At what times? What were the weather conditions? But we also analyze texts describing places of interest.

Describe the business, core products and services?

We use all this information to create Apps for Android and iOS. These apps help users make travel decisions. They work offline and include a (detailed) map.

Who are your key customers and users at launch?

Our apps have been downloaded about 500,000 times.

Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?

Yes, we launched as soon as we had a product worth launching. Maybe even a bit before that 😉 “If you’re not ashamed of your product when you launch it, you’ve probably shipped too late,” as Reid Hoffman puts it.

When we launched our first Android guide for Milan it had one restaurant. Blush. Anyway, we’ve come a long way since then. We’re starting to get pretty proud and we still have a whole bunch of ideas to make our product better.

What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?

Our apps will be free. We want as many people as possible to use them. When people use our apps to decide what to do next we will be able to present them with commercial options, clearly separated from our content.

SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

Strengths:

  • We move fast, we have a great team.

Weaknesses:

  • We can be overenthusiastic launching stuff.

Opportunities:

  • The holy grail of travel is within reach!

Threats:

  • We’re operating in an area that interests the big players, like Google, Facebook or Foursquare.

Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?

There were people who said you can’t do a startup like this as a distributed team. We think you can. We work very efficiently and we love our Jamborees. At those times there’s little distractions and you can focus on the product.

So in the current phase we think that the people who gave that advice were, well… wrong. At least, in the current phase of our startup.

What is your success metric 12 months from now?

We want to be the best travel app. When we look at metrics: we want to have over 25 millions of minutes spent using our app / month.

tlabs logo microscope NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.

 

Comments

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  1. Lakhdar Hamid

    French comment
    Open content doit être juste une ossature légère pour construire autour une app qui délivre un contenu fraîche et mise à jour continuel événement en temps réel avis des locaux comme on les aiment tips etc… Raconter des histoires unique demande un vrai investissement au niveau local côté homme
    Pour être la bible des résidents et des visiteurs

     
  2. Luke Ford

    I don’t see this as the holy grail of travel if there is no control of the actual content quality.

     
  3. Jazz Poulin

    Not blown away by it. Looks like the same recycled content that we’re seeing in most of these app guides. I wrote an article on my thoughts about this industry called “Why do online travel guides suck”

    http://www.tripulu.com/2011/09/08/why-do-online-travel-guides-suck-470

    I’d hire that designer sooner rather than later!

     
  4. Bart van Poll

    Thanks Dustin! Needs a disclaimer though – Dustin is my (co-founder of Spotted by Locals) former roommate and friend, so not really objective. But he has a point 😉

     
  5. Dustin Bell

    I must say I really like the interface, and the the usability of the app. But I’m disappointed by the content in the app.

    In the Amsterdam neighborhood I often go to (and used to live) many of the recommended restaurants had no descriptions or addresses. Or worse: they no longer exist. One of them (Genet, Amstelveenseweg) was a really cool restaurant when I lived there, but it has already closed down more than 10 years ago!

    This is not Triposo’s fault, but just due the nature of Wiki travel content providers like World66 (in Genet’s case). As a user of these websites It’s fun to add tips, but nobody bothers deleting them…

    As a frequent city tripper I want content I can rely on. In cities restaurants, bars and clubs come and go. It’s difficult still to find good up-to-date cityguides written by people who know the city they write about.

    Lonely Planet’s writers are great writers, but not locals. Their guides contain many outdated spots too. Apps by real locals – who update their tips – like http://www.SpottedbyLocals.com I like best.

     
  6. Stuart McDonald

    Just to be upfront, we have our own travel apps in the AppStore.

    While the “lp killing” slug was (I assume) the responsibility of the TC writer rather than this app provider, I do think that apps like this do far more damage than good.

    At it’s core this is a scraper app with a pretty skin, slightly prettier perhaps than the gazillion wiki-dump travel apps out there already. What apps like this are killing, is the travel category in general. I’ve only briefly perused their Bangkok app, but I’m not seeing a lot of value adding.

    At least other providers like LP, Sutro and Rough Guides are working from their own base of original content.

    Given some consumers probably test the market with a free app first, something like this wouldn’t leave me champing at the bit to spend money on more. Rather I’d be heading to the bookstore to buy a Lonely Planet – and I gather that isn’t what you’re trying to achieve here.

    As for the half a million downloads, if that is actually true, congratulations – it’s a fabulous result for an unknown brand, one day out.

    Good luck with it.

     
  7. Stephen Joyce

    Stephen Joyce

    I checked both Android market and iTunes. Android market has 61 apps registered for Triposo with some averaging 10,000-50,000 downloads and some with 100-500 downloads. It would appear that the majority of the downloads are probably on Android. Is that safe to assume?

     
  8. Kevin May

    Kevin May

    Curious about the 500,000 download figure.

    Only a handful of reviews of the 36 iPad or iPhone apps in the iTunes appstore…

    Why is this? An app such as Skyscanner, with 2M+ downloads, has had thousands of reviews.

    Maybe users are just not sufficiently moved enough to review it?

     
    • Nadav Gur

      My experience (based on analyzing several companies’ products) is that on average 0.2 – 0.5% of users post reviews, and that’s without a request-to-review in the product. So fishy indeed.

       
  9. Alex Bainbridge

    Quite an math challenge to organise a trip planning system based on time of day best for photos.

    I once saw a presentation from a famous mountain photographer who would take a sample photo – with the shade from the sun as it was on that date/time, with the clouds as they were – and then work out (taking into account the rotation of the earth and the change in the seasons) when the sun would be just right for the perfect photo (casting the right shadow on the mountain) – and then would return several weeks/months later and hope to capture the perfect shot.

    Now I realise the math behind something like google results doesn’t need to be understood in order for the value to the user to be appreciated (i.e. good results). So perhaps you can do this complicated earth rotation math without exposing that to users – and come up with the great algorithmic approach as you describe in order to tell a user where/when the best photo opportunity exists!

    Yeah you never said your algorithm took into account earth rotation, but you did focus on algorithms a lot, so presumably your algorithm did take into account earth rotation, right ?? 😉

    Might just be other ways of solving it though with less math 😉

     
 
 

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