Das Accelerator Frankfurt Programm bietet 2x im Jahr jeweils 8-10 Startups, die Möglichkeit, ihr Geschäftsmodell marktfähig und attraktiv für Investoren zu machen. In einem 16-wöchigen Programm lernen die Startups, was es braucht, um am Markt erfolgreich zu sein und am Demo Day Investoren überzeugen zu können. Wir stellen Euch exklusiv die Startups der 2. Wave des Accelerator vor und reden mit Startups der 1.Wave über ihre Erfahrungen sowie mit den Gründern Ram und Maria. Da die Ferienzeit naht, beginnen wir die Serie mit dem Startup Travel to Live. Morgen gibt uns Maria Pennanen dann exklusive Einblicke in das Programm. Das Interview wurde auf Englisch geführt.
Please describe your business model:
TTL: Travel to Live is a platform for travellers to plan their trips with friends. We are B2C but we won’t be charging our customers directly. From the start, we will make commission through affiliate programs, e.g. hotels and flights, which users book through platforms like Booking.com. In the future, we see major opportunities for providing travel companies with needed travel data and in location-based advertising for our users, who will have the app in their hands before and during their trips.
What is your USP?
TTL: For users, we offer something very unique in the traveltech space. The existing solutions out there now (which includes planning your trip on Whatsapp) all cater to what we call the “planner”. That’s the guy who is driving the trip and trying to get everything booked. But the other type of traveller is what we call the “joiner” and the current way doesn’t work for them. Those guys love to travel but they don’t like the other stuff – or they simply don’t have time. We all know this problem and a major reason for it is that the joiners get overwhelmed. Think of that Whatsapp travel group and the 50 new messages waiting for you since you last checked. Instead of 50 messages, what if you had only 5 things to vote on? Swipe left or right to make a choice. Travel to Live is about bridging that gap between planners and joiners and making travel planning fun and engaging for everyone.
Please tell us about the day you pitched to Maria and Ram. What comes to mind when you think about that day?
TTL: First we got to experence the cramped environment of the train commute from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt… but things were much better after that. Maria couldn’t make it that day but we had a good meeting with Ram. We saw how passionate he was about startups and we were really happy that he was interested in our idea. Everybody loves to travel and I think that helps break the ice when you’re pitching the company. We came away feeling good and excited that we were going to have the opportunity to take Travel to Live to the next level.
Tell us about the program, please: What does a typical day look like and what is the most valuable lesson you took away so far?
TTL: I’m not sure there is a “typical day”. The first week was a whirlwind and definitely lived up to the premise of “accelerator”. We learned so much in that first week and expanded our network incredibly. From the various contacts and mentors we met, we heard everything from “amazing idea” to “you have no idea what you’re doing!” and everything in between. That’s a real strength of Accelerator Frankfurt: there are so many perspectives and opportunities to connect with experienced entrepreneurs. But many of our days are simply about working hard on our product. There are so many valuable lessons we’ve learned but I think there’s one that every programmer out there needs to hear: don’t wait until it’s perfect. Get a landing page out there and get feedback. Make small changes to your service and see how users respond. Get fast and early feedback on your business model. Pitch everywhere you can because you’ll never be ready until you’ve made at least a few bad pitches somewhere first.
With Demo Day so close which areas do you feel you need to still improve to convince the investors?
TTL: German investors are pretty cautious about investing in B2C. Our main focus is showing investors that we don’t just have an amazing and innovative idea but that we will make money doing it. In the past, we haven’t always included enough details about the money part, so that’s something we’re changing for our Demo Day pitch.
What is the most essential tool you’d recommend to every entrepreneur?
TTL: Your eyes. Read everything you can: books, articles, blogs, etc. Even if your idea truly has never been done before, every other aspect of starting a startup has been done a million times over. There are years of knowledge and experience out there and that can translate into major time savings. Never stop reading.
Three words about Ram and Maria:
TTL: Dedicated, passionate, team.