Entrepreneurs and startup founders often find themselves traveling in this digital age—but even when you’re booked night after night with conventions, things can still get a bit lonely. For the savvy entrepreneur, an ideal business trip is steeped in networking and making connections.
Obviously that’s what a lot of people in business meetings, at conferences, and attending conventions are there for, too, but that doesn’t make the conversation flow any easier. It’s kind of like going to a singles bar. Almost everyone else is there for the same reason, yet they all stay glued to their phones and unconnected.
Make Meaningful Connections
Welcome Startuptravels, a new, free website from the brilliant mind of fellow entrepreneur Anders Hasselstrom. Based in Copenhagen, Anders found himself regularly in Scotland for business, but couldn’t quite make the kind of meaningful, entrepreneurial-centric connections he was after. Finally, he realized that if he wanted to design a meaningful business trip, it was up to him.
According to Anders, “I was traveling back and forth twice a month, and I realized I should connect with entrepreneurs while I was spending so much time there. I reached out to other entrepreneurs I knew and found they were having the same issue.” Identifying a problem and providing a solution is what entrepreneurs do best. Anders committed to creating a service that linked traveling entrepreneurs with local entrepreneurs and/or business professionals.
As a travelers, you can do a coffee request, ask for an introduction to an entrepreneur in the city, or get help with resources or recommendations. There’s even a means of offering a barter, such as services for office space. In order to ensure the best possible outcome, Anders tapped developers Rasmus Frandsen and Henrik Haugbolle—together, they undertook a survey of over 250 entrepreneurs to identify needs, desires and travel patterns.
The Big Reveal
One of the most common suggestions from the survey was to use LinkedIn to autofill profiles. You can register on the site with your LinkedIn information, and immediately your work history, profile and other requisite information is transferred. Users can modify information and customize it with tags like “Investor” or “Early Entrepreneur”. Next, just add your travel information and start seeing what locals are available. You can get “matched” on interest or background.
The site is still in beta mode, but there have been over 3,000 users coming from 120 countries. Anders depends on “built in evangelists” for free promotion. He says, “Our co-developers were the guys who fit the archetype of our website’s persona. They are power users who are willing to give their time, office space, and perhaps a spare couch to make the service valuable to fellow entrepreneurs.”
One of the most common questions Anders has fielded is why he went with such a niche. Anders’ reply? It simply is a niche field. It’s not just for entrepreneurs, which is niche in itself, but entrepreneurs in the early stages of their venture. Plus, it’s a fairly new landscape. “Our network wouldn’t have been as valuable five or even two years ago, but today the startup economy is booming worldwide. Startup people are the new rock stars, so not it’s not uncommon for people to identify as such. Startups now have much more value, not only in the number of people who are involved, but in the respect for the word startup itself,” he explains.
Do you believe there is a need for this type of service? If you are an entrepreneur will you sign up?