Leigh Pember (LP) and Tracey Bridges (TB) are the founders of Travel Eggs a smartphone app that provides self-guided tours created by locals. Leigh was born and raised in Perth, has worked and studied abroad in Germany, Malaysia and Switzerland and has a background in tourism research and business development. Tracey is originally from Botswana and has been living in Perth for the past 8 years. She has a background in journalism and marketing and you can find her on Twitter and Instagram.
Tell us about Travel Eggs and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
We saw an underserved need to deliver local experiences to travellers without requiring the local to actually be present at the point of consumption. We kept finding local experts who had amazing stories and experiences to share but didn’t fit the bill of being a tour guide (some where miners, other investment bankers etc). So we built a platform to connect those wanting to share their local knowledge with those wanting to experience it on demand.
How does Travel Eggs make money?
LP: Travel Eggs is a platform, so we host tours created by local experts, providing a place for explorers to discover and purchase these tours. Currently 40% of the sale price goes direct to the content creator, with the remainder going back into making a better product and covering service costs. Like all things startup, this may change as we learn about our market and partners.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next 12 months?
TB: Working on upping our content creator rate while decreasing the acquisition. Am super pumped about going nomad with Travel Eggs next year- I am mapping out a couple of months of hopping between co-working spaces across Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. If you can’t bring the market to the product- take the product to the market right?
LP: I am working on building our international development team to fast track our platform growth. We have just had two great hires. One from Netherlands and one from Ukraine.
How do you make ideas happen?
TB: Take a metric sh*t ton of passion and oomph, (build on a solid foundation of effort, blood, sweat and tears) bounce them off your founder, cut out the bull dust & time wasters, then hack them together in a close knit, supportive startup eco-system (like Perth has) and you have idea’s that are actionable!
LP: We follow a lot of the well establish startup methods. We believe in lean, follow agile development, use stacks of free software and work our assess off. It’s not a 9-5!
What does your typical day look like?
TB: Nothing is typical or average in startup! I can pretty much guarantee that it starts with tea and ends with beer though? In between that, there is a general flurry of organised chaos around the following: wake up, field social media convo’s on Twitter & IG from followers in Africa/USA, get up, tea, head to office of the day (wifi cafe/co-working space), sift through emails & go through Slack convo’s from team members & off shore contractors, double check deliverables, draw up to-do list, prioritise to-do list, feel guilty about neglecting Asana since adopting Slack, but avoid the all the red stuff flashing and close the app. Coffee. Recheck social media & build on local relationships & conversations. Get onto content creator search and acquisition, cross reference potential candidates with content marketing calendar and strategy. Notice it’s almost 4pm, wonder how it’s almost 4 pm. Did I have breakfast? Actually, did I even have lunch? Must. Get. Food. Now. Remember all the other things I have forgotten. Eat. Start planning next day. Recheck social media. Send some more emails. Hit up Slack. Find out if Founder or Co-founder is making dinner. Head home. Stop for groceries/beer. Make dinner/ have dinner. Collapse on couch only to get badgered by non-startup flat mate who woke up around lunch time: “did you kick any goals today Wirrapunda? Come on man! It’s not a 9-5, this is startup!”
It’s a sweet life, ain’t it?
LP: Busy, but a hell of a lot of fun. There is nothing typical in startup and you are always wearing more hats than you want to.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing your business in Australia?
TB: I feel the mentality that Perth is boring and there is nothing to do or see here has definitely hampered us in terms of product placement and testing in the market, and this sucks, because there is so much to do and see in Perth, and we have an awesome platform to share it all on, but people just aren’t on the same page.
LP: Mostly the funding side, Perth has a different appetite for early stage investment and have very different ideas on what is an “investable proposition” compared with many other places I have been. This just means we need to work harder to meet their requirements. That said I am about to travel overseas to look at sources of early stage funding in Europe.
What’s one idea you’re willing to give away for free?
TB: Keep on keepin’ on and keep learning, implementing, adapting and retrying.
LP: Most people fail to reach their goals because they never really set them in the first place. Not my idea but I believe it is really true.
What companies do you think are doing really cool things in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
TB: I think Techboard is on the edge of something big- I see it as a huge web of authentication for startups, the individuals behind it and the Perth startup scene in general. I am really looking forward to using it as a tool for moving forward and maybe even getting investments (brains and funding.)
LP: The boys over at Wikicamps have an awesome app, I love it! And they just launched Fuel Map which I am loving.
TB: Empire State in South Africa is pretty cool I think!
LP: Oh way too many to list, but Startup Startup is doing some cool things.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
TB: In my Travel Eggs dreams I see us changing the travel economy- people always want to get to truly know their destination on an intimate level when they are faced with a shortage of time, money and knowledge of what to do and see, I think with Travel Eggs we can change all that by giving them a tool that solves all those problems on one platform- explore a place more intimately, don’t waste time searching and searching (and being overwhelmed online) and make some cash on the side when you create your own tours!
LP: +1 what TB said. Also I think it will give a voice to many people whose stories are not being heard above the roar of the tourism dollar. I am thinking 1st nations, minorities etc.
Speaking of affecting social change, are there any non-profits or social businesses you support?
We are both supporters of RSL! We all need to do our bit to support these ladies and gents who did their bit to get Australia to where it is right now.
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
Yep, yep and yep! See traveleggs.com/jobs
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
How would you go about working out your company’s value pre-revenue?
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
TB: I couldn’t just pick one, so I made a tour about them all! Login to our app on app.traveleggs.com and go on the Sweet Treats walking Brekky tour of South Freo!
LP: Jac and the Bean in Fremantle (but I am bias)