Traveling, the Startup Way: Startuptravels

It is not easy finding local startup communities or networking opportunities on a business trip abroad. While traveling, people generally check in to hotels. In many cities the temporary living expenses can be too much for budding entrepreneurs. So why not rent a living quarters, and better so with exactly the sort of people who would make great additions to your thriving business network? This is where Startuptravels comes in, to aid you in traveling as well as finding fruitful business contacts on the go.

Startuptravels is a Global Social Platform aimed at traveling entrepreneurs. They combine the features of LinkedIn and Airbnb. They can help you find short term and business networking opportunities wherever you go. Startuptravels is a new platform allowing you to connect with local entrepreneurs and professionals while traveling. You can find a place to stay, a desk to work at or even just arrange a meet up for coffee. This week, SDasia caught up with Rasmus Elkjær Frandsen, a founder of the firm.

How was 2014 for Startuptravels?

2014 has been a great year for us. We got the idea back in July 2014 and talked to you guys not too long after. We spent the first couple of months designing the product and getting great feedback from our 26 co-developers and alpha testers from all around the world. On October the 16th we were satisfied with the alpha version and made a public beta launch. The launch party was great, and we received great feedback on our platform. Since then we have listened a lot to our users through our co-develop platform, which lets users give their feedback.Our focus in 2014 was on listening to our users and implement the features which really creates value for them. This is something we will keep doing, and we have a lot of great new features and improvements in our pipeline.

What changed since over the past year?

When you featured us it was mostly an idea. We had a video which attracted about 10.000 people from all around the world. The video focused on both accommodation, getting a coworking space and also meeting people. Through more than 250 skype meeting from July till October, we found out that the number one thing people wanted from the platform was the ability to meet other interesting entrepreneurs when traveling. Therefore, the product we have right now focuses on making it easy to meet other entrepreneurs both at home and abroad.Since the launch we have created a lot of great new features to support the vision of making it easier to meet likeminded people when traveling:- Reply rate is now available on the platform
– Users can get their own unique user-URL.
– Users can send their contact details through messages in an easy way.
– People can suggested meet-ups e.g. when creating a travel
– We verify our users to make sure that they are of high quality
– Users have the ability to search on industries and skills
– Email login functionYou should definitely check out the platform and all of the users we have now – I am sure you will like it.

How many more cities have you expanded to?

We are now in 120 countries and almost 600 cities around the globe. It is great to see how we keep expanding our user base, and also that people get a lot of value from meeting each other through the platform.

What are some milestones Startuptravels has hit?

Users in more than 100 countries (currently 120)
– We have been exposed in great medias like your own
– Almost 400 meet-ups has happened on the site (in less than 3 months)
– We have been in contact with some great entrepreneurs from all around the world.
– We have almost 50 great ambassadors from all around the world, which helps promote Startuptravels and create a great community.
– We have contact to some great partners, which will create even more value for the entrepreneurs on the platform.

What are some of your targets for 2015?

Right now we are in 120 countries, and we want to be in 150 countries and 1000 cities by the 1st of April.

 We want to partner with companies having products and services that our users can benefit from getting at a cheaper rate. We want it to be cheaper being an entrepreneur and therefore we will do everything we can to get our users cheaper flight tickets, access to cheaper accomodation and access to some great services and products! We are already in contact with some very interesting potential partnerships, and we cannot wait to announce some of them!
We want to have city guides for the major entrepreneurial hubs in the world – we have a lot already (see http://blog.startuptravels.com/category/city-guides/) but want to keep getting more great guides for our users.

Do you think a business like Startuptravels will be well received in Dhaka or Bangladesh? If so why?

We have currently 37 entrepreneurs from Bangladesh on the platform. We have received great feedback from a great amount of these. It is our perception that entrepreneurs in Bangladesh are very friendly, creative, hardworking and willing to create new inspiring contacts all around the world. It is amazing to help entrepreneurs meet. We want to keep providing great value for traveling entrepreneurs in Bangladesh, so we would love to hear from entrepreneurs in your great country to know how we can help them and their start-up. Also, I believe we, as individuals have a lot to learn from each other. I am positive that I will get some great insights and alternative ways of running a business through meeting an entrepreneur in Bangladesh, and I am sure people from the Western part of the world have some to offer as well. I strongly believe that we can benefit and grow as individuals by being exposed to other cultures and ways of living and running a business. This is one of the reasons why I have created this, and I hope we can grow the community in Bangladesh so more people can be exposed to the great startup environment.

Do you have any revenue plan for Startuptravels in Bangladesh?

We want to keep the platform free for entrepreneurs, since we love to give back and support the startup culture. Often we do not have too much money as entrepreneurs when we want to create something, and therefore we want to keep it free to members. However, we do not just want to keep it free, we also want to provide entrepreneurs in Bangladesh with great deals through partnerships with organizations with great services or products which is valuable to have as an entrepreneur. Therefore we are looking into partnerships opportunities in Bangladesh to give our users some great deals, and also to give exposure to some companies in Bangladesh that wants to promote themselves to the global startup environment. We are e.g. missing a city sponsor for Dhaka, so if someone in Dhaka could be interested, we’d love to hear from them.

 

Md Mushfiqul Huq

Shoumik is a business student from North South University. He is a metal head, fiction writer, and an avid comic book fan. Shoumik is highly fasinated by entrepreneurship and its strategic aspects and loves coming across intelligent, innovative people with bright ideas for a better Bangladesh.

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