Interview with Wetravel Co-Founder & CEO Johannes Koeppel by LAUNCH team members Jamaur Bronner, Charmaine Chiu & KC Simon
How would you describe Wetravel?
It’s a free platform for organizers and travelers to simplify the organization of group trips. Organizers can create and publish itineraries, register participants, and collect other necessary information from travelers (e.g. meal preferences). It also allows the organizer to collect travel funds, which can be transferred to the organizer or to overseas travel agents at much better rates than commercial banks.
Where did you meet your co-founder?
We met through a common friend at a dinner party. He was a senior engineer at Fuze Inc and was on the side working on a different travel product, but we ended up working together on Wetravel. He left his job a few months ago to work full-time on Wetravel.
How did you come up with the idea?
Having been involved with the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, I had the opportunity to live in different countries around the world, and organized trips for my friends and family to come visit me. As someone who often organizes group trips, I experienced the frustration from things like keeping track of who’s coming or collecting deposits. Wetravel is a tool that can make this planning process much more efficient.
What differentiates Wetravel from your competitors?
There are other group planning tools out there, but the primary difference is that these tools see group travel planning as a collaborative process. In reality, the planning is led by one or two people, because thirty people making effective decisions together is rarely feasible. Wetravel makes organizing a trip easier for the actual organizer, rather than trying to accommodate the entire group.
What’s coming up next for Wetravel?
Right now, it’s a free tool that can be used by organizers. By offering a productivity tool to organizers, we are creating a community among people who share an interest in organizing trips. With the community growing, our platform will also drive new business, new travelers to the organizers. Ultimately, Wetravel will evolve from a tool to a marketplace where travelers and organizers can connect with each other.
Currently, Wetravel is a beta product. However, since the launch last August, we have gained decent traction with over 50 trips planned through Wetravel, with more than half a million $ in transactions. Right now Wetravel is fully functioning, but it’s basic. We will be launching our non-beta product in the next three to four months.
Where can interested group organizers find Wetravel?
You can go to our website, https://www.wetravel.to/
Come learn more about Wetravel and the other 14 teams at the LAUNCH Finals April 30th! RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/launch-finals-registration-16212201130.