Couchsurfing arguably is the right way to find a way to find a couch to crash on for the night. Similarly, craigslist is the right way to post a free, online classified ad. There are many ways to explore a city and meet locals when traveling, but arguably there is no right way- that you know about.
“This is a very big market need” says Alfredo Rivela, Founder and CEO of Nomaders. Nomaders is a travel platform that helps travelers connect with locals in cities around the world. Rivela wants Nomaders be the right way for people feel like they live in the city they are visiting.
Rivela has a leg up on changing the way people travel and is very enthusiastic about the process. He is a serial entrepreneur with years of experience, mostly in Europe, and founded his first startup in 1995. Rivela recently relocated with his wife and three children from Spain to Silicon Valley. Now he is working on adapting the Nomaders sales platform for the U.S. and global markets.
Years of experience and a love of travel have led to his three core beliefs that guide his startup decision making:
1. Travelers’ Needs are Not Being Met
There are many ways to travel and be a tourist in another country, but connecting with locals isn’t easy and needs to be approached differently. Nomaders is creating a new local tour guide category to tackle what Rivela calls “a very crowded space” in the tourism industry. Instead of an incremental improvement to the way people travel, Nomaders is creating an entirely new way for people travel.
Lesson Learned: Your startup can bypass competition if it approaches a problem in a way that is different enough that it creates a new market. See Blue Ocean Strategy.
2. Cities and Places are made by People
Rivela’s loves to meet local people when he travels and believes that the vibe or identity of cities and places are made by people. Rivela and the Nomaders team found a way to create connections between people with local heroes, an unique type of tour guide. Local heroes volunteer to meet with travelers, share their interests, and hobbies with them. “We are building a unique experience for travelers and locals” he says.
Lesson Learned: Part of providing value for users is finding a way to connect with them.
3. Everyone Should Travel More
Cliche or not, Rivela believes that travelling is one of the ways to make a difference in the world. He keeps the big picture in mind at all times. “I really believe we can do something big and make a difference in how people understand each other,” says Rivela. “When you travel you learn a lot about different cultures and how to navigate different worlds. One of the most important things to me is creating a better world for the future, something I think can be done by encouraging more traveling.”
Lesson Learned: Your motivation can be you passion and also play a part of a bigger story for your startup.
Want to learn more about @nomaders? Connect with Alfredo on Twitter @arivela