You love to travel. Exploring new destinations is your number 1 hobby, so to do it right – and to make sure you’re spending your money wisely – youtry to create your list of top 10 places you want to visit. You set on a Google search-driven mission to put it together, and end up with enough material to form a top 100. Until, of course, you realise that all you need are some insider tips to lead you through the places of your choice.
This is where miavia steps in. The startup, working out of Vienna’s sektor5, left its beta just a few days ago and went officially online. inventures.eu caught up with CEO Andreas Röttl to find out more about the next stops the team of five is pulling.
Make your own box. Then share it
A screenshot of the front pageWhether you set on a trip to Alaska, Australia or somewhat more closely – say, Paris, miavia helps you put together the highlights of your travels. “All you need are good photos and good memory to create your own travel box,” said Röttl. He likes to refer to miavia as a “beautiful travel blog” from travelers for travelers. And on this note, it becomes clear that anybody can become a travel agent.
Upon registration, users can start creating their travel boxes by uploading up to 10 photos and notes per insider tip into a number of different sections. Those vary from accommodation and directions of how to get around, to tips on where to wine and dine, and sites to visit. When users consider their package complete, they send it off for revision by the miavia team. “Currently we are the only ones editing the content and giving feedback [if necessary] to the authors,” said Röttl. Once it has been approved, the travel box goes online. But it’s not all up to the team, it seems. “Authors get to set their own price; we have no say in it,” he said. Prices range from 80 cents to 20 euros, with a current average of 5-6 euros. Based on how well their travel box sells, users can adjust the pricing up or down, over time.
So far, about 200 people have started their own insider guides, and 40 of those have already been published.
Numbers and plans
A screenshot of the travel boxesmiavia was officially founded as a company in June 2013 after making its first revenues. Those revenues are in Röttl’s words “a few bucks each month”, however, with the launch of the new website, the startup has introduced travelers to the possibility of buying more than one travel box at a time. At the moment, there are two to three boxes bought every week, yet, what is soon to be the core of the startup’s business model is subscriptions. The goal is to have users buy credits for either a particular period of time or a region, and add them to their accounts. More details are soon follow. One thing Röttl is certain about, though, is that miavia should remain ad-free.
Up until now, the team have been bootstrapping and intend to do so for as long as possible. With a burn rate of about 1.300 euros a month, however, they are looking into ways of outside funding. “We’re already in contact with business angels, and have decided to take the chance and apply for accelerator programmes,” said Röttl, with TechStars, 500startups and Y Combinator on the list. In the meantime, what also keeps the team busy is the development of the miavia mobile app, which will roll out a little later this year.
Keeping it real, and positive
“There’s plenty of competition out there,” said Röttl, listing names like TripAdvisor, Yelp and Foursquare. What he believes sets miavia apart from some of those, though, is their targeting people who go on trips for longer than three days. The longer your travels take, the more money you’ll spend on it, the larger your need for insider tips, he sums it up.
Yet, competition is inevitable. “As of not too long ago, we even have our own copycat – a Berlin-based startup called Spotpanda,” said Röttl, without sounding too concerned. “Of course we have an eye on the market, but we also like to concentrate on ourselves and go our own way.“ They seem to be doing it right.