High hopes for new app developed by Midlands’ couple
A Leamington couple have high hopes a social networking app they have developed, which targets the trillion dollar business travel market, might one day be as well known as Facebook and Twitter.
TripLinks was recently launched by Susi and Mark Wisniewski and the couple are now in the process of growing it organically while also speaking to potential investors to take the next big step forward.
The app, which is now available for free from the Appstore, offers business travellers the opportunity to meet-up with others while they are away from home.
The idea came about as a result of Susi and Mark’s own experiences.
They both had jobs which involved extensive business travel and they found the experience a lonely one unless they were travelling with others.
Susi, who grew up in Hall Green, said: “I used to be lucky enough to travel extensively and I would be in amazing locations but every evening I would be stuck watching foreign TV in my hotel room because I didn’t know where to go or have anyone to go with.
“The difference between a really good and interesting trip and a dull one tended to revolve around who you were with rather than where you were.”
Essentially TripLinks users can create an event which could range from meeting another business traveller for dinner in Dubai to hooking up with fellow Manchester United fans in Manhattan to watch a televised football match.
The app got off the ground thanks to a partnership with the Serious Games Studio at Coventry University and the couple secured a grant to work with experts to develop a wire frame of their idea.
Then a year ago they secured an Innovation Networks grant as part of a £40,000 project to develop the app, which finally launched a month ago.
They worked with Emblime for branding and web design and iMobisoft on the app build.
Susi said: “We’ve had a really good reception from virtually all the people we’ve spoken to. A few have said that it’s not for them but they can see how it would be good for lots of people while most have simply said ‘when is it coming out’.
“Now we are hoping to get some funding, some equity investment to drive some aggressive advertising campaigns to get the message out there.”
Although the couple are concentrating on the core features of the app they are already considering wider uses and its long-term potential, including ‘white label’ versions for large global corporations to facilitate networking between their staff when travelling on business. They are also exploring the advertising possibilities for hotels and hospitality providers.
Susi said: “At this point we have tried to make it do one thing really well as a friendly meet-up app for business travel but we don’t have any shortage of ideas for what it might be able to do in the future.
“We want to see how users use it – that will be a big driver in how we develop the app.”
TripLinks is based at the Althorpe Enterprise Hub, a Warwick District Council business centre for start-ups.
Susi and Mark are currently in discussion with a number of potential investors.
Susi said: “We are in talks with lots of different investors at the moment who are interested but it is a case of getting a deal that is right for everyone. Investors in this sort of deal don’t just need to bring money but expertise too.
“But there is huge potential. The global business travel market was estimated to be worth more than $1.18 trillion in 2015 and it’s believed around a billion people travel for business each year.
“There is a huge spend on business travel and they are very high value customers.”
She added: “We have a moderate business plan which takes us to five million users over seven years with a spend of £10million needed.
“Then there’s the sky’s the limit plan which is it could be as big as Facebook. It’s very difficult to over or under-estimate what you could do.
We could completely bomb – but I don’t think we will.”