This is a tool that not only quickly gathers ideas, but puts everything on a map, allows for collaboration and is image forward. Tripidee tools are easier to use than the competition, plus, we offer leads for travel professionals.
Location: Kauai, Hawaii
Product / Service Offering: Vacation and Trip Planning Tools
Founder Interviewed: Michelle Rundbaken
Other Key Management Team Members: Yacine Merzouk (CTO)
This article is part of our Women Entrepreneurs Spotlight Series featuring female entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
I am a serial entrepreneur. My passion is coming up with ideas for products that make people happy. Before entering into the startup world, I was a media arts teacher for ten years, a performer, and a wedding videographer.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
I love to travel. The planning phase I love, researching everything to see, do and eat on a trip. Tripidee was established in 2016 as a side project. The problem I found was that there was not a great tool to organize all the vacation ideas. I was bookmarking websites, using Pinterest, and jotting down notes in GoogleDocs. When I went on a trip, I would still spend a good thirty minutes to an hour each day figuring out what to do because I was not familiar with the area. We decided to create Tripidee, a tool that not only quickly gathers ideas, but puts everything on a map, allows for collaboration and is image forward.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
Tripidee helps our users build trip plans that are easy to use and share. Our enterprise clients have an extra layer of tools for client management, lead generation, and travel idea database building.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
Tripidee tools are easier to use than the competition, plus, we offer leads for travel professionals. No other competitor offers the services we do.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
Time has always been our biggest challenge. We are still bootstrapping. Our team is small and time is limited. There are so many ideas on how to grow Tripidee and improve our service. We must make sure we prioritize and plan with the big picture in mind so scope creep does not get the best of us. We have weekly meetings at the beginning of the week to discuss project benchmarks and timelines.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
Google Experiments have made it easy to do A/B testing. We had success testing headings and sales pitches to increase conversion rate. Storage is cheap. We store a lot of data for future use on AWS S3. We incorporated via an online service called Clerky. It was a straightforward process with good customer support.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
Our first funding came from participation in Blue Startups, a startup accelerator based in Honolulu, Hawaii. The rest has been self-funded.
If I had to start over, I would spend more time with market research. When we created Tripidee, we knew there were no trip planning tools like we were creating. What we did not know is how investors view B2C travel companies. It took sessions with mentors from Blue Startups to understand that we needed to tweak our model to encompass B2B to be taken seriously when seeking out funding.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
Our challenge was not knowing the questions we needed to find the answers to. It is so easy to work within your realm of knowledge and research. The challenge is to keep expanding that knowledge and growing your social network to find the harder questions.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Have I mentioned that time is a challenge? We are learning to do some serious padding on our project timelines. Everything takes longer than you expect.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you have ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
Cultivate your network of professionals in the startup world and work on creating real relationships. It is easy to email people when you want something from them, but that is not a real relationship. It is caring about people and helping others as much or more as you receive help.
Advice to female entrepreneurs…
Find the people who believe in you and will help push you to success. Cultivate role models and mentors who inspire you to work harder and smarter.
Are you familiar with other Women-led startups? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below!