Sunday, January 24, 2021

Network is king – connect to the local network of entrepreneurs

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

Trailwhisper was founded in the spirit of the outdoor community

Please introduce yourself and your startup Trailwhisper to our readers!
Hey there! We are Eirik from Norway and Andi from Germany. We are Trailwhisper!
We´re building the best online community for surfers, who want to get inspiration and inspire people to travel and surf all over the world. Currently, we are talking to surfers, photographers, travel bloggers and outdoor enthusiast to identify the biggest barriers while travelling and surfing in foreign countries. We have identified that local knowledge is difficult to find and that bridging this gap is crucial to create a better surf experience.

How did you get the idea to Trailwhisper?
The idea of Trailwhisper was born at the Google Startup Weekend Limerick where we found a market for surfers and travellers who want to share and find local information and content such as stories, pictures and videos. During the weekend we managed to get backing and developed a concept that was awarded as the winner. The contest opened a lot of doors for us, but was just the starting point as the idea is continuously being developed.

How did the founding team together
We met at the University of Limerick in Ireland studying International Entrepreneurship together. Both came to Ireland to study and surf, but finding a good university close to the surf was difficult. Especially Eirik experienced a lot of issues and difficulties finding local surf related information. After going on a few surf trips together along the beautiful Irish coast we saw that we had the same passion for surfing, travelling and writing and decided that we wanted to create a platform that would promote local stories and make local information more accessible.

How fast grow Trailwhisper?
We are growing steadily at this point. We built our strategies and landing page over the last month and launched at the beginning of July. We are reaching out to nearly 30,000 people every week on social media and on our landing page. It’s only the two of us at the moment, but we are currently looking for an intern to help us prepare for our next big event, the Web Summit in Lisbon in November.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
It was not only difficult at the start, every day in the life of a start up is a new challenge. We’re doing everything ourselves so going out of our comfort zone is key. Growing on limited resources is tough of course, but we are lucky to work in the Nexus Innovation Centre where we get a lot of valuable and free advice. This dynamic network of experienced entrepreneurs helps us every day to overcome challenges by giving us advice and help.

What is the USP of your startup?
We will give unique information for you to plan your next surf trip. Stories will inspire, show new places to surf and bring a like-minded community of surfers together. Local information will help to get to spots more easily. Up and coming surfers, writers and photographers will have an audience with us and can share to inspire other surfers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Who is the target audience?
From our research, it seems that the intermediate surfer are a passionate bunch who is willing to share and spend money to improve, so they look to be the core of our audience. Our audience are people who look for inspiration – they want to see who is going where and what each location has to offer. Quality is important here, so we have to ensure that our content is of a high standard.

A typical workday of you?
A typical workday normally starts with a breakfast and a discussion about the goals of the day. Then we go to our office and start managing our social media accounts followed by meetings and interviews. We’re trying to spend more time in “the field” as our target market can’t be found in our cubicle! The best workday is at the beach, catching some waves and talking to some locals.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
As the nr. 1 platform for surfers to find local information and inspiration through compelling stories, videos and pictures. Our goal is not to become the biggest player, but an influential one that inspires surfers to explore beyond the beaten path and share their experience with self produced content.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
1. Network is king – connect to the local network of entrepreneurs. The value you get out of local connections is brilliant. Local connections tend to give more back, so don’t underestimate the guy next door just because he isn’t as fancy as the people you find on LinkedIn.
2. Work with the right team. Investors are not only going for the idea, they are going for the people behind the idea. It’s easier to change the idea than the people working on it.
3. Talk to people and customers before you build the product! You want to know that there is an audience for what you’re building, so make sure that you’re building and investing resources with research in mind, and not according to your own personal wishes.

Thank you Andi and Eirik for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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