There are no shortages of trip-organization services out there, but the recent successful launch of Finnish startup CreateTrips indicates that there is still room for one more. It is partly for this reason that they have proven attractive to investors, taking in a total of $1.4 million in seed funding.
The first section, valued at $600,000, came in June 2014 and was followed by $800,000 this January, the latter round including participation from Butterfly Ventures, as well as S3, private angels, and previous backer Frontier Capital. It may seem strange that CreateTrips would hook up with S3, which is based in Vietnam, but the startup claims 25% of its userbase from southeast Asia.
CreateTrips has opted to focus on the social side of travel, building a service that allows users to build trips by joining with friends (or go it alone) and plan their vacation by adding venues, to which the user can access directions or call. It is not a big deal if the user is heading to an area with a spotty connection or hopes to preserve their data, either, as the platform can be accessed offline for a few dollars. What is interesting about this particular platform is that users have the option of writing or reading user-generated travel plans, possibly providing a more frank assessment of which venues in a city are worth visiting. The service is free at a basic level, but the company CreateTrips generates revenue through in-app purchases (access to premium features) and selling travel books. The app is currently only available on iOS, but the startup is working to bring it to Android.
Founder Juha-Petteri Kukkonen is hardly new to managing a business, acting as co-owner of a dairy farm and working at various digital agencies. He tells me that he felt a need to create this business out of disappointment with the services currently on the market. So, he decided to go ahead and build his own.