Innovation Destination Hartford spoke with Trekeffect Founder and CEO Jason Biondo in February 2016, when his startup was participating in the 2016 reSET Accelerator. (Read the interview: Social Impact Entrepreneur Creates Travel Planning Solution.) Since then, Trekeffect has been refining its offerings and continuing to grow its customer base.
IDH recently checked in with startup for an update.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: What’s new?
JASON BIONDO: Over the past few months, we’ve been working on building out travel blogging software in addition to our travel planning and online marketplace to buy travel guides.
Our goal is to create an entire travel-oriented ecosystem where travel bloggers no longer have to worry about the technical details of starting their own travel blog while also being able to sell travel guides to other travelers. The really innovate piece of the software is that you can seamlessly embed your treks (travel guides) right into your stories on Trekeffect.
This month, we also released a newsfeed in the app where Trekeffect members can share their travel photos in just a few clicks and can see other travelers’ photos from all over the world.
IDH: Have you experienced any major pivots since we featured your story?
JASON: The major pivot was to expand our offering of travel solutions and to build out the ecosystem, but we still haven’t changed from our original business model of selling travel guides.
IDH: Have you been involved with any Connecticut startup resources in the region?
JASON: In addition to being part of the reSET Accelerator I’ve pitched at the CTNext Entrepreneur Innovation Awards a few times as a finalist.
IDH: How are you building a customer base?
JASON: Building our customer base is our greatest challenge and so far, has just been through organic growth. We drive a lot of traffic to the site every month with the goal of converting those visitors into customers who sign up and start using our app. We’re in the process of implementing a lot of feedback loops so we can more rapidly grow our customer base.
IDH: Where do you see the entrepreneurial landscape heading?
JASON: I think the entrepreneurial landscape is going to continue to heat up. Being an entrepreneur is the “cool” thing to do, but it’s extremely difficult and requires more sacrifices than anyone who isn’t an entrepreneur would anticipate.
This world is full of smart people with brilliant ideas, but it’s hard to execute on those ideas, and it’s even harder to get the capital necessary to push past some of the initial barriers to create a sustainable business.
IDH: Tell us about the importance of supporting entrepreneurship in Connecticut.
JASON: If we don’t support entrepreneurs in Connecticut, we’re going to have some big challenges ahead of us financially. It’s hard enough finding good jobs in this state. All the talent is leaving to go to New York or Boston, and quite frankly I don’t blame people for wanting to do that. Connecticut has a lot of potential, but we aren’t really tapping into it or at least not to the level of other communities. We need to do a much better job of fostering growth and also need to find a way to increase our talent pool.
IDH: Aside from funding, what do you need most to move your company forward?
JASON: The bottom line is we need more paying customers. We need to do a better job leveraging network effects to stimulate the growth we need that will get us to scale. There’s a lot of finesse and strategy that we are still working on.
IDH: What’s next for Trekeffect?
JASON: The next thing for us is just figuring out how to make those network effects a reality. In addition, we’re also going to be working on the mobile app version of Trekeffect to increase adoption.
Learn more about Trekeffect