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My tech venture latetrip.com aims to change the way that people book holidays online. Unlike most travel websites we don’t expect the user to do the work. Instead we match a budget against thousands of flight & hotel options allowing the user to quickly browse all the destinations available.
I recently took part in SETsquared’s two-day Entrepreneurship Programme and as an entrepreneur who is currently starting-up a tech venture, I wanted to share some tips from my journey so far.
1. Industry knowledge is key
If you’re planning to disrupt an industry sector with your technology, having an in depth knowledge of that sector is absolutely essential. For me, that meant going and getting some relevant work experience. I had my idea in mind when I went to work for a leading online last minute holiday package provider lastminute.com If you’re outside of an industry it would be extremely hard to execute a game changing piece of tech – you wouldn’t have the contacts or understand the pain points clearly enough. At the very least, having an advisor who has an in depth knowledge of that sector would be absolutely essential.
2. Understand the needs of your potential customers
The idea for my business sprung from my own experience of trying to book holidays online, the more I spoke to people the more I realised I wasn’t alone. It’s important to undertake rigorous market research to fully understand the problem your tech aims to solve. We’ve continually developed the website offering as we’ve gained traction with the market. We’re currently at the point where we’re receiving over 150 users per day and are busy planning the next steps to improve the user experience.
3. Consider the best funding routes for your venture
Have a clear strategy for the best investment routes for your company. For LateTrips that was crowdfunding – which we did via the CrowdCube platform – raising a total of £150,000 from 214 investors. My advice for raising money from the crowd is to remain completely focused throughout the duration of the campaign – giving quick and detailed responses to investor questions in order to instill confidence and put as much effort as possible into drumming up support.
4. Don’t give up on your vision
If you truly believe you’ve got a good concept, stick to your vision and don’t give up at the 1st or 2nd hurdle. This may mean that you have to pivot elements of your business plan but to succeed you have to be very single-minded about your vision to carry it through.
5. Take part in SETsquared’s Entrepreneurship Programme
It only takes you out of the office for two days and it’s really, really informative. I went along not knowing what to expect but it re-adjusted my thinking to focus on the pain points of my customer, in order to hone the product offering and tighten up my marketing messages. It can also lead to fully funded business support with SETsquared for 12-months.
Going forward we will be working with the Surrey SETsquared team to get investor ready. We know the concept works, we are now seeking funding to move from being an affiliate partner to being an online travel agent in our own right.
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