Enjoy the journey!

wOndary: Save, organise and share everything Travel- connecting all your travel dot

Please introduce yourself and your startup wOndary to our readers!
We’re Claire and Achim, co-founders of wOndary – a platform “connecting all your travel dots” by enabling you to save, organise and share everything related to your trips. We’re on a mission to empower travellers to not travel as a tourists, but to explore and push their own boundaries. On our platform, get inspired by itineraries from your friends or bloggers and use this to build your own trip. Our Save Button enables to ensure that great blog post or fantastic Instagram shot is part of your itinerary, and that you keep at hand all these Airbnbs you’re hesitating between. The platform helps you communicate and reach decisions with your co-travellers.

We’re both passionate travellers and, fun fact, we both have spent some time in China!
Claire has a background in Investment Banking, working in the City for 6 years advising blue-chip companies on multi-billion transactions. She has since advised a few startups. Achim was at GoCardless and himself working on a travel app when he chose to focus on building wOndary. He has previously built an open-source Android dictionary with over 50k downloads and worked at SAP both in Germany and in China.

How did you get the idea to wOndary?
Claire came up with the idea a few years ago, when preparing a trip to Patagonia that required a lot of tedious planning to be coordinated with a friend living in a different timezone.
We struggled to find reasonable transport options to make the trip possible with lot of places in our wishlist but a limited amount of time for our trip. After a thorough search we found travel blogs describing similar challenges with detailed advice on how to make it work. This made me wonder if there was a way to make this information more readily accessible and actionable in a tool that makes trip planning easy however many people travel together! It’s in that trip that I began drawing mockups and test the concept.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
The start was definitely more chaotic than difficult, there were times when progress was stuck in stop and go cycles. Although the past few years have been a rollercoaster, these experiences are a good way to test your passion for building this business.
The biggest challenge was finding a passionate technical co-founder. It took three successive partnerships for Claire to find Achim. With hindsights, these were important learning experiences especially to realise that while some people love building products, entrepreneurship is a whole different story. When we met a year ago, it seemed quite obvious we would be a great team so we partnered and that’s when the project truly kicked off.

Beyond finding a co-founder, we’d say the biggest challenges were: taking the plunge and raising external funds (this last one being our latest challenge!). I am sure we’ll face many more, but it feels each time we get more “comfortable being uncomfortable”.

Who is your target audience?
Ultimately, anyone who goes on a self-organised trip! We’re all about the “travellers mindset” and empowering people to be open-minded, curious, and adventurous. We have users of all ages, however most are in their twenties and early thirties. They have the means to travel quite a few times each year but don’t have much time off so they want to ensure they make the most of their trips.

Travel is a big trend in millennials and even more for the upcoming Gen Z. They value experiences, authenticity and peer-to-peer recommendations. Our solution enables them to no longer waste time on the mundane logistics or usual inefficiencies and instead spend that time getting inspired by their favorite bloggers or scrolling through beautiful pictures to decide on spots they want to see. Our platform also helps micro-influencers be discovered by our users who are excited to read their content on the destination they’re looking to go to.

What is the USP of your startup?
We provide one integrated platform that facilitates the planning of your trips wherever you spend time searching for inspiration. That’s what we call “connecting all your travel dots”: from inspiration to organisation, decision making, booking and sharing – it all happens in one single place.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
There’s no such thing as a typical day, really!
We work most days from the Campus, a free and really cool co-working space Google generously opens to entrepreneurs. It’s highly motivating to have the vibe of other people “building stuff” around you, and we meet friends working on their own startup. It’s in a convenient location to come and go to meetings with potential investors or wider network.

A few times a week, we attend events to pitch, keep learning or simply for networking. We try to “divide and conquer” on these. And in the evenings, we do more readings for inspiration on our next developments.

Where do you see yourself and your startup wOndary in five years?
wOndary will be your go-to for anything travel-related. Looking for travel recommendations? a trekking buddy? special gear for a couple of days? We provide a safe, friendly and hassle-free platform and pride ourselves in creating value for the whole travel community.

Our users save time, energy and money through the platform. They’re regularly surprised with our trip suggestions that feel like friends’ recommendations of things they are keen to do but never knew existed. Our technology enables you to explore the world like never before and make sharing your trips an even more social experience.

As for us the founders, we’re seeing ourselves very much thriving in leading the development of this company, continuing pushing our own boundaries as we empower our community to do the same!

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Our first advice would be to find your tribe and surround yourself with the right people – meaning people who encourage and support you, especially when times get rough for you or your company.
We would also recommend to take extra care of yourself. The entrepreneurial journey is quite akin to a high level sports competition and you can’t perform at your best if you’re exhausted.
And last, enjoy the journey! We try keeping in mind that it is not about the destination so best to make the most of the experience!

More information you will find here

Thank you Claire and Achim for the Interview

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

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.

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