Featured Startup Pitch: Look out TripAdvisor – TripVerse seeks to create a truly collaborative travel planner
TripVerse makes travelling easy and fun by building an offline-accessible itinerary viewer and social platform to share and discover new travel ideas.
TripVerse allows users to create aesthetically pleasing travel itineraries on their iPhones or web browsers, with friends’ recommendations, must-see location discovery, and offline maps available wherever and whenever they need them.
The trip planning platform displays the planned adventure with photos of locations and integrated maps to spark excitement about the upcoming trip and make it easier to find key spots when on the road. We consider our product an interactive Instagram for travel stories, where users create travel stories by masterfully and easily curating travel activities. With TripVerse, users can soak up hot tips that inspire new adventures with their friends and family at the touch of a button.
Having lived in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Czech Republic, and traveled abroad extensively, I have always considered myself a nomad. In my travels I am generally pretty spontaneous and rarely make detailed travel plans, relying mostly on services like TripAdvisor to find out where to find truly authentic and local experiences.
During my years living in Prague, I had the time to visit all top-10 restaurants and bars on TripAdvisor, and noticed three things: The places weren’t packed with customers, the quality is not as good as I expected, and if there were other customers, they were all speaking English to the waitresses and waiters. My Czech co-workers then told me that only tourists go to those places, they themselves would never go.
After realizing that I’d been falling into tourist traps all along by listening to TripAdvisor, I started to really plan my travels to make sure I got the authentic experiences I sought. This is when two problems hit me.
The first was that there weren’t any intuitive ways to carry my elaborately-planned travel itineraries with me. I tried using Evernote, writing things down on paper, or sending myself an email on Gmail, but they weren’t the most intuitive for this usage scenario.
The second problem was that it’s really time-consuming to find authentic local spots—I had to read through multiple blogs and ask for friends’ recommendations. Naturally, I was looking for something that serves as an offline-readable itinerary viewer, as well as a platform where I can find real travel plans made by real travelers.
There are two key channels to our marketing strategy. The first is viral. TripVerse is free to use, and it’s quite natural for travelers to want to share their itineraries to friends at home and friends whom they are traveling with (this feature is one of the most requested features by our users). The second channel is growth through sponsored blog posts, as it has been the most effective conversion channel so far.
Almost everyone travels with a plan, no matter how rough or how detailed these plans are, but there are very few products focusing on making a better travel itinerary viewer. TripVerse aims to make travelling a shared experience by offering access to the trip plans of family and friends to take advantage of their tips about where to visit. According to Facebook, 84 percent of their users are inspired by friends’ past trips. With TripVerse, family and friends don’t need to fret about their loved ones’ whereabouts, as they can easily access their shared trip plans and follow their progress.
HOW WE’RE UNIQUE
Currently, TripIt is the biggest player, but, with their flights and hotel confirmation tracking features, they are more focused on business travels. TripVerse differs by making it really easy for travelers to add attractions to their travel plan by location auto-complete, and we make sharing and discovery of travel plans a central part of the platform.
TripVerse offers much more than websites such as TripAdvisor due to the personalized nature of our service, offering valued recommendations from family and friends rather than general reviews by people that the users have never met. TripVerse has been designed to fill in the gaps in the existing market, such as including key activities and sites of interest, which provides a product that covers all bases.
Tripverse is currently bootstrapped; we are using savings from my previous job and investment from my friends and family.
We need more people to know about TripVerse! So far the users I’ve talked to all seem to love it and find it super useful as a travel companion app!
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HEADQUARTERS: San Francisco
FOUNDER: Benny Kao
YEAR FOUNDED: 2014