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Should I close my travel startup?

Need advice on app for tour group companies
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Founder and CEO, SafeTravels

Hey,

I'm Chris, the founder of SafeTravels.com. I've been lucky enough to attend a few travel massive events around the world over the years and meet a bunch of great people along the way.

I am reaching out to the Travel Massive community to see if someone sees the potential in SafeTravels and is interested in partnering with me to make it the go-to travel app for tour group companies worldwide.

As the owner of SafeTravels, I often use an analogy to describe my feelings towards it - it's like having a child in their 20s living at home. While I love having it around and seeing it grow, there are times when it can be a pain in my backside, especially when it doesn't live up to its potential. It's at a stage where it needs to spread its wings and explore the world, perhaps even find a partner who will love and care for it as much as I have over the years.

SafeTravels started as an app designed for travelers to share their travel information with others they were traveling with. As it grew, it evolved into an app for tour group companies, providing them with branded apps to give their customers. The app allows these companies to offer their customers itineraries, messaging, and the ability to store and share travel information and documents. From small private tours to school group trips, to tours with 1000+ people, SafeTravels has proven its value as a travel app. It has even been used at global events such as the Football World Cup and the Tour de France.

As a tech guy, I am proud of the app's technology and have always focused my efforts on it. However, SafeTravels' lack of sales and marketing has been its Achilles heel. While our customer base is small, they are loyal, and the app's operating costs are covered. But I know that SafeTravels has the potential to be so much more, and I am unsure of what to do next.

As the owner, I have been grappling with three options:

1. to let SafeTravels continue to exist with its loyal customers, knowing that it is not living up to its full potential;
2. to shut it down, but the idea of ending something that I have nurtured like a child is not an easy decision;
3. or to find a partner who can give SafeTravels the love and attention it deserves.

Ideally, I would love to pursue the third option and find a partner for SafeTravels who can help take it to the next level.

I've got a bit of a decision on my hands to make with SafeTravels over the next few months and would value your thoughts!

1 month ago (edited)

Hi Chris,
Would love to connect and learn more about the SafeTravels offering

1 month ago
Ian
Founder, Travel Massive

Hi Chris,

Well done on what you've achieved. It ain't easy!

Looks like your best pathway (for your own wellbeing and product's success) would be an acqui-hire with a larger travel company. They (or their customers) likely have the painpoint that you're solving, and you could bring your knowledge + expertise in to that company. You get an exit under your belt, and can decide how you want to move forward.

Here's a few suggestions:

1. If you're in Sydney have you tried talking to Jayride (ASX:JAY)? See @markgregory
2. Another company to consider approaching is Intrepid Travel down in Melbourne. Check in with Leigh Barnes at www.linkedin.com/in/lcbarnes/
3. Flight Center (Brisbane based) and @sutho is a member of TM as well.
4. Len Cordiner @lcordiner would also have some good contacts.
5. Tony Carne @tonycarneua is in Melbourne (ex Urban Adventures GM) and worth chatting to.

Hope these leads help, feel free to DM me if you need any intros.

1 month ago (edited)
Sales Manager & Account Director, Jayride

Hi Chris, I would be happy to have a chat with you!

26 days ago
Founder & CEO, Yugen Earthside

Hi Chris, I can't offer much (sorry) but as a fellow entrepreneur who has put a lot into their project, I feel you with this. I hope you get your ideal solution!

1 month ago
COO, Left Travel

Hi Chris (we Chris's should stick together). Having run a lot of tech startups I would look at 2 or 3. the road to long lingering death by not doing enough is horrible, it eats into you without you realising it. If you want to chat about 3 I am happy to connect and talk to see if I can help at all. Keep well and stay safe.

1 month ago
Founder and CEO, SafeTravels

Hey Chris,

Yep I agree with 3. Would love to chat more. Sent you a message on LinkedIn.Chris

28 days ago
Startup Growth Advisor

Hey Chris, the website looks fab and I like the design / UX of the app. It seems you have come so far with it, it would be a shame to throw in the towel. I think with a few tweaks here and there, plus the right business model and support, you can take this forward.

I have consulted several travel tech founders and built prototypes / MVP for a similar application called: Trippers.
If you like, I can free up some time for have a zoom call with you about your project, the problems and the conundrum you find yourself in. If anything Iโ€™ll be happy to pass on some free advice to help you out.
Do let me know if that sounds good? If you would like a call, I have a link on my profile. I allocate several hours per week to speaking with founders like you Chris. So please feel free to book at time at your leisure.

Cheers,
Nick

20 days ago