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An interview with Rasmus Frandsen, co-founder of Startuptravels

0 25 July 2014

Anders Hasselstrøm (left) and Rasmus Frandsen (right) are Startuptravels founders.

Startuptravels is a global social platform that allows you to meet local entrepreneurs and professionals while travelling. In 16 days people from more than 85 countries have been signed up. In this interview, Startuptravels co-founder Rasmus Frandsen spoke to RusBase about his innovative platform that is going to help connect entrepreneurs worldwide.

Why did you decide to start this platform?
We decided to build Startuptravels because the founding team have been travelling a lot experiencing some challenges. For instance, I have just been to Australia and I am heading to an American university in a couple of months. However, I often find it hard to find the local start-up community when travelling. Now, thanks to this platform, we are already connected to more than 3,000 entrepreneurs and professionals from all over the world.

Your platform is global, isn’t it?
Yes, Startuptravels is aimed at entrepreneurs worldwide. It is not just a Russian thing, but it certainly will have Russian partners so that we can map the entrepreneurial landscape in Russia as well as the rest of the world.

How can people subscribe to the platform?
At the moment we have set up a landing page where we collect emails from entrepreneurs and professionals interested in knowing more when we launch a few months from now. You can go to www.startuptravels.com and sign up.

What are the benefits of using Startuptravels?
The benefits of using Startuptravels are being able to find a place to stay, a desk to work at or simply to arrange a meet up for coffee anywhere in the world while traveling. You will expand your global network with likeminded people and find interesting business partners, mentors or investors. You never have to feel like a stranger coming to a new country because you can connect with likeminded people before you go.

Can entrepreneurs who are yet to produce any concrete results join the platform?
Definitely, even if you are new and don’t know how to start, or how to adapt to a certain market, like the Russian one, you should definitely sign up. Our aim is to create a community where people will help each other. Therefore new start-ups will benefit from such a site through finding inspiration and knowledge, whereas investors and more experienced professionals will be able to find likeminded people dealing with the same challenges as they do. The platform welcomes everyone with an interest in business and entrepreneurship.

How many people have subscribed to the program, and from how many countries?
Up to now, we have 3500 entrepreneurs signed up from more than 85 countries. We have already arranged the first meet up between a Brazilian and Italian entrepreneur. The woman from Brazil contacted us via email and asked us to match her against an entrepreneur from Milan. Within 10 minutes we had arranged a meeting in Milan for the next day. You can have a look at how it went here.

Is there any process of checking people who subscribe to the platform?
At this moment we are working on a way to qualify the entrepreneurs joining the site. We are aware that for the platform to be successful we have to maintain a high standard in the user base and will do what we find necessary to uphold this standard. In the initial phase we have been working closely with accelerators and incubators in order to get access to qualified entrepreneurs so as to create a solid base. We are working on implementing a verification system, where users can verify themselves, in order to prevent fake profiles and users that does not contribute to the platform. However, the niche we are working in is very proactive and we will make it technically easy to report and block users.

How do you get entrepreneurs and professionals to invite their peers to the platform?
As stated before we are dealing with a highly proactive group. Entrepreneurs and professionals can see the value in a platform like Startuptravels and thus it is natural to share it with their peers. On top of this, we use a referral program, so that when you subscribe you can invite your friends to join the site and expand the community. The more entrepreneurs and professionals you invite to the platform, the sooner you get access to the system. Dropbox had success with it, as did Trevolta, and now so are we.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of your platform?
There are great advantages to the platform, and I truly believe it is missing from the startup community. It is a social platform for entrepreneurs and business professionals, making it easy for them to get in contact with each other. Connecting on Startuptravels will increase their knowledge of other markets and sectors, as well as increasing their knowledge through being inspired by entrepreneurs and business professionals in other countries. Moreover, as far as Russia is concerned, I think our program has the potential to make its international network stronger and help local entrepreneurs achieve quality partnerships abroad.
Sign-up at www.startuptravels.com and let your friends and colleagues know about it. The more of us there  are, the better the platform will be.

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