Bangalore-based start-up TripThirsty started in 2011 and has 800 users with wanderlust posting content and uploading pictures of places they would like to go to. Explocity speaks to Kinglsey Joseph (responsible for product, strategy and business development) who explained that they don’t have any intentions of being another Pinterest or Facebook, but cater to a specific community of users – those fond of travelling.
TripThirsty allows you to upload pictures of places and add them to your 'wishlist'. If someone in your social media circle wants to go there too, TripThirsty helps you connect with them and even provide you with information on deals and discounts at hotels in your destination. Kinglsey Joseph, who handles product, strategy and business development, puts it simply, "TripThirsty's mission is to help you travel more, with friends."
Explaining the concept behind the name and the company, Joseph said, "The desire to travel is as universally human, and as primal, as thirst. Travelling opens minds and hearts. But very few travel as much as they'd like to, so we're constantly 'trip thirsty'. The three components of a travel triangle are: time, money and company. TripThirsty is our attempt at helping bring these 3 things together."
On being asked how they got started, Joseph explained that they first interviewed a lot of travellers. After they got the initial idea, Joseph provided the initial funding for the company and said that they were “fortunate” to be accepted to IIM-A's accelerator program in early 2012. On completing the accelerator program, TripThirsty raised a small round of funds from IIM-A affiliated investors. They also won various prizes, which coupled with the company’s revenue has kept the company going.
TripThirsty mainly makes money from commissions received on hotel rooms and travel packages booked by their users. They have 800 active users who have uploaded more than 5000 places and have more than a thousand places on their wish-lists. They don’t wish to compete with Facebook or Pinterest and would rather be a niche medium for those fond of travelling.
We wondered if they were happy with 800 users in two years. Joseph said, “Almost everyone identifies with our goal to help our users travel more. Having said that, we haven't really cracked the code yet. Our users are not as passionately engaged as we'd like them to be, and are not recommending us to friends as much we'd like them to. But our journey is to figure out what’s not working yet, and have fun doing that.”
They don't have a business plan yet. Joseph asserts, “not because we are not serious about business, but because business plans hold very little relevance to start-ups. We follow the lean startup methodology, where we go between idea to customer validation several times a week. That means that our own understanding of our business is constantly improving and sometimes changing drastically.”
Joseph and the rest of the TripThirsty team aren’t looking for VC funding or investment yet. They feel they need to constantly look out for more ways to monetise and get a deeper understanding of the business, before they approach people for funding. They have no intentions of being acquired. At least not yet.
Speaking about TripThirsty’s future, Joseph said that they are constantly adding features to engage users. They recently added a feature enabling their users to share their itinerary or trip details with their friends on social media.
The Trip Thirsty Team:
Kingsley Joseph: Product, strategy and business development
Sundar Lakshmanan: Operations and vendor relations
Sandeep Bhaskar: Technology and infrastructure
Anenth Guru: Product design and mobile applications
Anu Mothi: Content and helps with vendor relations