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Map of the Week: Roadtrippers

Geo Developers Blog – Roadtrippers bills itself as a “simple and intuitive road trip planner that helps you discover, plan and book the best places and experiences along your way, curated by local experts and travel writers” and their approach sure works.

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Roadtrippers Updates

Roadtrippers is a simple but powerful road trip planner that helps you discover, plan & book your adventure. The following interview is with James Fischer (CEO and CoFounder).

In the past 6 months, what has been the coolest development for your team?


“It’s hard to be sure how to answer that—there’s been a lot going on. Watching everything grow has been great. We are putting in hard work, so to see actual growth come out the other end is awesome.”

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What stats would you say best highlight your growth?

“Over the past few months, we have seen people stay on the site for an average of 6 minutes at a time. We compare our stats versus other travel startups, ones that have been around for longer and raised a lot of capital, and our stats crush it.  We are punching above our weight in terms of metrics as a result of hard work and a great product.”

How do you see the product changing in the next month?

“In the next month! The time will fly. We have a bunch in the pipeline. Today, we launched local deals, so people can search for deals along their route. It’s an aggregation of Groupon, Living Social and other local deal sites. We want people to see what’s around and have access to cool activities, sites, and food on-the-cheap. Next week, we are going to release our fully responsive site, so we’re working hard on that. That’s all within the next ten days.

As far as the next month, I’m still making the plan. We have a lot going on behind the scenes right now with data—we will really be putting some effort to flush out our content."

How about changes in the next year?

"For starters, our data is going to be way better—10x better. That means more data, richer information, more photos, an increased number of 3rd party comments/blogs/reviews, and better quality everything. We are also going to make the site much more social, so that people can interact with each other through the platform. The other big change is how “smart” our site is—the site will start to be able to predict what a user wants to see/do, so they don’t need to search themselves.

For me, the best part of running Roadtrippers is watching our growth. We are building two things: a product and a company. They work hand-in-hand, as we improve the company, our processes and grow, we are also building our product.  Every once in a while you do something big and sexy that makes an impact, but over time, it’s the little tweaks that turn into the most substantial growth.


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James Fischer (CEO and Co Founder, Roadtrippers) Bio: James spent a large portion of his youth traveling in Africa with his adventure loving family. When in the UK, he worked with his father on his award-winning property restorations and his farm. Since childhood, James has worked as an innovation consultant to large real estate portfolios, a German clean tech startup securing VC and large EU grants, and on numerous real estate developments. Now, he is the business and creative genius behind the wonder of Roadtrippers.


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Post-iTunes launch, Impulcity is hiring

The discovery of a great local act or a hot new bar should be shared, says Impulcity founder Hunter Hammonds. Immediately.

And it is. Thousands of smartphone users have downloaded the mobile application of the Brandery-trained startup since it launched on iTunes early last week.

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A site for tech-savvy travelers

Freddie Pikovsky came to The Brandery last summer with a vision to fully develop a digital product that would be to today’s tech-savvy travelers what the Lonely Planet brand has been to a generation of wanderers since the 1970s.

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Roadtrippers: Travel Website of the Week

Canada.com – Planning a road trip online is simple. Enter your start and end destinations into a map site and it spits out the fastest way to get there. What’s missing is the spirit of the road that makes a trip memorable. That’s what Roadtrippers will do for you.

“Read More”: http://o.canada.com/2013/02/22/travel-website-of-the-week-roadtrippers/

Interview with Ian Halpern, CEO Rentshare

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Rentshare graduated from the Brandery in our class of 2011. They relocated to New York City where they are growing an empire to take over the online rent payment industry.

Ian Halpern is the CEO at RentShare, and started software engineer who was recruited out of college at the age of 20 and was thrown into the startup explosion in NYC. After working in startups for a few years, on the concept that you never know your full potential unless you take a chance, he quit to work on his own passion projects, the latest of which is RentShare.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for Rentshare?

“A lot of people would assume our inspiration came from living with roommates. That isn’t actually why we got into this. It was from the fact that the only check I was writing every month, or really for anything, was for rent. Every other monthly bill you could pay online. I wanted to figure out why that was the case. It sounded like an interesting problem and I saw potential for a big opportunity.

After we dug in a bit, what we found was that it wasn’t just us paying paper checks for rent, but about 70% of renters in the US still paid with paper. The biggest part of our project is getting the technical aspects in-line. For landlords, online payments are complicated and they didn’t want to pay credit card fees. Also, in most cases they don’t want to accept payments until all roommates have paid. If only two of the three roommates pay, it’s a problem because the landlord wouldn’t be able to evict the tenants after accepting part of the money. The friction with the landlords comes from a lot of things—the challenges with payments, but they’re also an “older” group who rents the buildings most of the time.

The rental industry is an incredibly fragmented market. Landlords are all over the map- big, small, the random guy down the street. The large real estate groups hold about 20% of the market, but the long tail of the market is the smaller landlords down to the guy down the street who doesn’t have much business experience and isn’t a formalized company. All these factors played in to why the market is so behind in the online payment space.

It’s the last frontier. That’s how we got the inspiration.”


RentShare-Trevor Geise, Chris Toppino, Ian Halpern
Q: You say you’re on the last frontier, what other companies are there with you? How are you different?
“We have one direct competitor in Chicago. Other than that, the big players in online rent payments have gone after the big companies, the ones that own 20% of the market. For them, it’s a long sales cycle, but if you get one big guy, you do pretty well.

As for us and our target market, there’s not much competition. A lot of people have seen the opportunity, but it’s tough to get into because the payment infrastructure is a big hurdle. There are a lot of new payment technologies that should make it easier, reducing the barrier to entry, but also making it easier on us.

Why are we the best? We have built a consumer model where roommates can pay with their credit card/bank account without ever having to talk to their landlord. It is hugely powerful because the landlords have been the challenge in the past. We removed that hurdle. Now the tenants have all the power and it opens us to the 100M renter market immediately. There’s no one who had figured it out yet.”


Q: What has been your biggest positive development in the past 6 months?
“Interestingly enough, it’s our relationship with landlords. We built our platform to not involve them, but they are approaching us now. Landlords are actually getting really excited by the idea. For about 1-in-6 tenants who use our service, a landlord will give us a call to request the use for all his properties. It is surprising and exciting.”

Q: How do you think the apartment renting industry will evolve in the near future?
         
“There is a lot of commotion in the technology for payment system and real estate technology. The industry is definitely behind, fragmented, and disorganized. There is so much opportunity, especially with the 70% of the smaller/mid-sized landlords. A lot of startups are doing big things with big data analysis and payment systems that will transform the online rental payment industry. Also, there will be a lot of changes as the older more traditional landlords are handing down their control to the younger generations who better value technical solutions.“

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Window Seat or Aisle Seat: 13 Wacky & Weird US Road-Trip Spots

PeterGreenberg.com – One resource to check out is RoadTrippers.com, the brainchild of James Fisher and Tatiana Parent. Plug in your starting point and ending point and the site automatically generates destinations and suggestions of weird and wacky places you can go along the way–everything from lodging, to roadside attractions, nature, bars, pubs, restaurants, venues, amusement parks, for wherever your four wheels might be taking you. Each suggested place has its own review written by travel experts and local writers, and people can login, save their trips, share them via social networking and more. Love it!

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2012 Grads In The News!

Brandery grads have been making waves in the startup world. Some videos were released by news stations this past week to highlight their achievements.

Impulcity is makes finding events in your area simple. The Impulcity team relocated to Cincy from Louisville to build and release their app. They have raised a strong seed round led by local firm Cincy Tech. Last week, Impulcity released their app to the apple store. You should go download it. Now.

“We take everything going on around town and we give you the best things to do. You can open the app and instantly find your favorite concerts, sporting events, nightlife, things to do with the family. The really cool thing is we let you see what’s going on everywhere… We want people to spend less time looking and more time doing the things they enjoy.”

- Hunter Hammdonds, CEO and Co-founder Impulcity



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FlightCar is reducing inefficiency in the airport car market by allowing people parking at an airport to rent their vehicles out to other travelers. FlightCar opened it’s first market in San Francisco on February 5th. In one week, they had over 100 rentals. The team didn’t put effort into marketing before their release. They knew the product would market itself- validated with some great press in a video piece by an ABC San Francisco affiliate.

“I think it’s a great idea. I talked to some people about it and they all said, ‘Yeah. Why didn’t somebody think of it earlier?’”


- Derek Broker, FlightCar customer

 

 

 

Flight Car:Turn,Spark,Ignite

They turned the key to a great idea.

They’ve sparked in San Francisco Airport.

Now, we wait, to see them ignite and take over the car-sharing economy at airports.

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Flight Car built a strong platform from an awesome idea this past summer at The Brandery. Capitalizing on the trend towards a shared economy, FlightCar lets people parking at the airport rent their vehicles out to other travelers. On any given day, thousands of individuals park their cars at an airport, while a similarly large amount of people rent cars. Two cars in place of one= Hello inefficiency.

On February 1st, FlightCar opened their first hub at San Francisco Airport. San Fran is a pilot program that will allow them to revise their strategy, learn best practices, and create a template to expand their services to airports across the country. On one hand, these guys are flying by the seat of their pants, pulling the pieces together. Their small team does jobs as packages, like “CEO and Driver” or “Developer and Car Washer.” For them, it’s all in a days work and all for the betterment of the company.

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Thus far, the biggest challenges have centered around third party providers and challenges in finalizing contracts. This has forced them to push deadlines in some cases and move forward without getting all the “ducks in a line,” in others. Either way, the critical parts are in place, people are happily renting and leaving cars in FlightCar’s hands.

 Rent a FlightCar. Save money. Join the movement.


FlightCar invites you to park near the airport for free

Here’s an ideal that may appeal to some of you frequent travelers…
What if you could drive to the airport, hand your keys to a valet, get free parking for as long as you wanted, and have your car washed and cleaned. Oh, and you’d get a free gas card when you returned to pick it up?

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