12 Jan £150,000 later: What happened after The Start-Up Series – Tribe
Tribe co-founder Christopher Moon explains how winning The Start-Up Series funding competition last April is helping him “revolutionise the travel market”
Looking to help young people realise their travel dreams, Tribe is a members’ club and app through which under-35s can book, fund, plan, and share their trips, connecting with fellow travellers along the way – and it was also the winner of The Start-Up Series in April 2017.
Run by Startups.co.uk and investment promoters Worth Capital, The Start-Up Series is a monthly competition in which two early-stage start-ups per month, whether B2C or B2B, can win up to £150,000 equity seed investment each – along with ongoing business support and guidance – to bring their start-up visions to life.
Now nine months on from his win, the funding and expertise afforded him by Worth Capital has enabled Tribe co-founder Christopher Moon to take important steps along his journey to scale. We caught up with him to see how his business has evolved and what he has been able to achieve since the victory…
What does Tribe do?
The Tribe app is a digital members’ club for global youth travellers, with them throughout their years as a young person – they might start by booking a trip to Ibiza, and then 10 years later take their friends to Berlin on a hen or stag do.
The app enables members to plan, share, fund, book and live their travel goals.
Currently the travel market lacks anything that builds a relationship with customers, and there is very little blue water for any incumbents due to a lack of innovation. Tribe aims to create a long-term relationship with its members, rewarding them for their engagement, raising switching costs and locking them in for years of lifestyle and travel benefits.
We have listened to our users, and they now demand a mobile solution which empowers them to live their travel goals while having insider access to member benefits and connections with other travellers in the club.
We facilitate this new age of travel through our app which stays with the consumer before, during and after their trips; ultimately creating a virtuous cycle where our users continue to be rewarded, reap the benefits, become more loyal and become advocates for this travel revolution.
By creating a fresh marketplace we can set the rules and drive a more sophisticated and rewarding user experience. Our users will be in full control of ticking off their travel goals through a slick app-based ecosystem. Travel is now a lifestyle for our members, not a wish.
How are you disrupting the travel market’s status quo?
We feel the current status quo has the following flaws, which we aim to fix with our formula:
- Price warfare is rife and red ocean conditions are present. Travel is exciting, but the providers of it aren’t.
- Whoever achieves scale wins the mass market.
- Margins are low on a single transaction, other than in niche or luxury segments.
- Bureaucracy and paper-based systems are crippling any progress.
- Travelers aren’t rewarded for loyalty.
- There is very little technology to facilitate a slicker travel experience from searching to living your next adventure.
How is Worth Capital’s £150,000 funding helping you to achieve this?
We have funded brand development, technology and research. We are now in shape to create global scale.
How has Worth Capital’s business expertise and advice helped you?
Paul Soanes, Worth’s co-founder, has been exceptionally beneficial to the company, adding amazing insights and foresights to help us shape our model and scalability.
We are looking forward to taking the formula to the next level, where the Worth team will have an even greater platform to excel with their expertise and unique visions. We also look forward to collaborating with the other founders in the Worth family.
What else have you been able to achieve since winning the Start-Up Series?
We have been fully focused on shaping our new model and moving from a traditional tour operator to a marketplace. We have created tech, insurance, product and IP to give us a unique placement in the market.
We are now in a position where we can convert this globally, with a forthcoming financial raise supporting this expansion. Marketing and technology are the focus of our spending.
What are your plans for the future?
We want to become the defector medium for youth travelers to plan, fund and live their travel goals. By building a relationship with them throughout the year we aim to develop our proposition into lifestyle, in addition to travel.
The returns in this market are not made in a single transaction but in using the engagement and magic of travel to create a relationship with a global network, from which Tribe will generate larger and more sustainable returns.
We aim to convert our members to paying subscribers, with added perks and benefits associated. By creating this subscriber network we can then reduce the need to charge commission, thus giving us a competitive advantage. We plan to partner with leading global lifestyle, product and finance brands from Boohoo to Revolut, with insider access to unique benefits for our members.
User-generated content is a big focus for us going forwards, as we want to create an ecosystem which is built and shared by its users. Our role is to facilitate innovate travel solutions and theirs is to drive this beast.
Finally, we are working on a strategy to “tokenise” our internal Tribe currency for travel and lifestyle purchases through this gated community. This ultimately gives us the foundation to use blockchain to revolutionise the travel market, saving our users and suppliers time, risk, hassle and cost.