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Interview with Rasmus Frendsen, co-founder of Startuptravels

0 17 July 2014

Startuptravels is a global social platform that allows you to meet local entrepreneurs and professionals while travelling. In just a week people from more than 65 countries have been signed up, and many investors expressed interest in possible collaboration. In an interview with RusBase co-founder Rasmus Freundsen .

Your service is for the whole world, isn’t it?

Yes, Startuptravels is a free site aimed at people from all over the world. It is definitely not just a Russian thing, but it certainly will have Russian partners. The site is aimed at the whole world, not just Russians, since Russians also need to get in contact with people from outside Russia in order to develop their business.

What should people do in order to subscribe to your service?

People should show that they are business professionals or entrepreneurs and they should often travel, since the aim of the site is to help professionals who travel. Entrepreneurs and business professionals should go to www.startuptravels.com to sign up.

Will users have to pay for a hotel room when travelling?

No. Startuptravels gives you the possibility to stay with locals. Hopefully, there will also be some Russians available who will host travellers at their place and give them a couch or a room where they could sleep. Our aim is to build a community, so that when travellers come to a certain place someone will be able to invite them over for coffee or for a meal. We find entrepreneurs very welcoming, and therefore our hope is that we can create a community where people will be willing to host each other.

You can see more on what our service will provide here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvK6n0w6l7A

Why did you decide to start this program and what is the most important thing of the program?

We decided to start this program because both my partner and I both have been travelling a lot. 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 communities when travelling. Now, thanks to this service, we already now have more than 3,000 people from all over the world. This will both help me and other entrepreneurs connecting and creating long lasting relationships all around the world.

Can entrepreneurs who have not reached any concrete result yet join the program?

Definitely, even if you are new and do not 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 would help each other out. Therefore new start-ups would benefit from such a site through finding inspiration and knowledge.

How many people have subscribed to the program, and from how many countries? How do they usually meet, and what do they do during their meetings?

Up to now, we have more than 3000 participants from more than 75 countries. We believe people will often use our service to meet for coffee, for a cheap accommodation (i.e. for free or not much), or work at a local’s office, if they have a desk you can borrow while travelling. That is in order to make them feel comfortable wherever they happen to travel.

Is there any process of checking people who subscribe to the program?

Up to now, we have arranged Skype meetings or email correspondence with some of our subscribers, in order to check whether people are actually right for this site. Startuptravels has however been escalating way more fast than what we anticipated, and therefore we are looking for a more functional way to make our network safe when we launch. It is very important to us that we keep our community safe, so entrepreneurs, business professionals, venture capitalists, accelerators and incubators will become part of the site. It is important to us that the people are relevant for the people on board, and will therefore look into a way of cross-checking people who subscribe.

How do you encourage people to invite their friends to the service?

We use a referral program, so that when you subscribe you can invite your friends to join the site and expand the community. Whenever you have signed up, we send you an e-mail asking if you want to become ambassador, and we have since gathered ten ambassadors from all over the world. We are still searching for a good ambassador from Russia.

Do you have any plans to partner with LinkedIn?

Not a partnership, as such. However, when you subscribe to our site you will be automatically be linked to LinkedIn profile, so that the other users may read information about you on LinkedIn before meeting you.

What will the site look like?

It will be a mixture between Airbnb and Linkedin. The home page will ask you where you are going to and shows you all the people who work there, so that you can read information about them and meet with them. The site will work as a social platform that will make it easy to connect with other entrepreneurs and business professionals, when travelling. Therefore this will be the main focus of our page – making it easy to find locals when travelling through our social platform.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program?

There are great advantages of such a site, and I truly believe this is missing in the start up community. It is a social platform for entrepreneurs and business professionals, making it easy to get in contact with these people. With other sites like Airbnb or LinkedIn you are not part of such a community. So the user bases on such sites are larger, while our platform of course will have fewer, but more relevant, members. By aiming at a specific segment, Startuptravels aims only at entrepreneurs, while those sites aim at everybody. So, while our community will become smaller in scope, the users will be more relevant for the other users, creating a community where we help each other out when travelling. This will increase the knowledge about other markets and segments, increasing entrepreneurs knowledge through being inspired by entrepreneurs and business professionals in other countries.
Sign-up at www.startuptravels.com and let your friends and colleagues know if this. The more we are, the better the platform will be.


Founding team

The founding team is the experienced duo Rasmus Frandsen and Anders Hasselstrøm. Even though both are students at Copenhagen Business School, Rasmus is a management consultant at PwC and Anders has been involved in several startups before.

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