TrippAlly founders Olia Bosovik and Jeanne Whitesides took time recently to talk about what led them to start the company.
What was the inspiration for starting the company?
Olia: We all love to travel and are passionate about traveling with girlfriends. But each one of us has experienced different issues while traveling with other females: from scheduling, booking, coordinating everyone, figuring out who has paid for what, what to do, where to go, how to make everyone happy? And most importantly how to come up with a trip that everyone can go on. The list goes on… so we decided to take that into our own hands and free other women from the stress of planning and coordinating girl’s trips, so they can just enjoy each other’s company.
You’ve won some business competitions before, how was this experience different than winning cash?
Olia: We won some cash as well, but the best part about the experience for me personally was to present in front of amazing entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and to get their feedback.
Jeanne: Both were fantastic learning experiences. SPUR is a lot of fun because you have creative control and are able to tailor your campaign more toward your friends and family (if you choose) so that they can become part of your story. The early validation is really inspiring. It gives you that extra kick to get going and show the fruits of your efforts to those who support and believe in you.
What was your first reaction when Jeremy proposed the idea of doing a crowdfunding campaign?
Olia: We were super excited. We love to support other startups and work together with entrepreneurs, so this was a great opportunity to do just that.
How did you prepare for your campaign?
Jeanne: Maggie and Jon helped us in every step starting with the pre-campaign work and then constantly sending tips and feedback during the campaign. As we were very new to the crowdfunding idea, SPUR helped us understand the process and guided us with the initial marketing and content creation for the campaign. We all worked hard to push the word out through emails and social media. It was a great learning experience for all of us.
What were the main goals of doing a crowdfunding campaign on SPUR?
Olia: The main goals were to get validation and feedback from friends and family and everyone seeing the campaign. And, of course, to raise a little money to go with that.
How did SPUR help you through the process of building your campaign, launching, and developing your business in general?
Jeanne: SPUR is awesome! Maggie and Jon met us before we started our campaign for chats, brainstorming, and helped us fashion a makeshift logo. They gave us lots of cool ideas and great marketing materials to get the ball rolling. They’ve even supported all of the campaigns! Needless to say, as good business owners, they take care of those little things that make all the difference.
How has your idea and team developed as a result of doing campaign?
Jeanne: We’ve gotten great feedback about different features that people would like to see. That’s what is most important: customer validation.
Would you suggest SPURstartup to another student startup? Why or why not?
Olia: Yes, of course we would. Both Maggie and Jon were extremely supportive and helpful during the process of preparing for the campaign.
Jeanne: Absolutely. It’s a great motivator for any team and it’s always good to support a fellow Dallas startup.
Overall, how would you describe your experience? Did you grow, discover, and learn? What were the biggest benefits you had (personally and with your business) from crowdfunding on SPUR?
We only wished we’d set a higher goal. I’ve learned how willing people are to support you if they believe in you.
Jeanne: We’re only five days in, and we learned how quickly you can reach your goal if you aren’t scared to spread the word and ask for support. Now, we only wished we’d set a higher goal. I’ve learned how willing people are to support you if they believe in you; I would now feel confident crowdfunding for other things, like traveling, TEFL, and other projects. I’ve always wanted to work on an elephant sanctuary, so maybe I can crowdfund to get there.
What did you do to raise your funds so quickly? What was your strategy?
Olia: We tackled our biggest supporters right off the bat. Emailed, Facebooked, texted them on the day of the launch. Once we got some momentum and higher donations in, it was easier to get smaller donations that added up quickly.
Jeanne: We wished we set a higher goal. We didn’t expect to reach our goal so quickly. Our friends and family have been so sweet and generous. We emailed them and simply blasted our social media outlets. Now, we hope to reach out to a broader audience to get more feedback and hopefully raise more funds to have more options on our MVP website.
How did it feel to reach your funding goal?
Olia: Really motivating and exciting. We can’t wait to continue developing our concept and to show our supporters and the rest of the world what we can do. It’s not the amount of money we raised, but more so what it means to get that initial support from people, without even having the website completely done. That meant a lot
With over 25 days left until your campaign closes, you have a ton of time to raise more cash. What would raising more help you accomplish?
Olia: It would give us even more affirmation to continue working on our idea, we can spend that money on marketing efforts and social media promotion, cool giveaways for our first customers, continue adding features to our website.
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