FindMyAdventure is one of Pakistan’s hottest startups to come about in the past year. The online travel portal recently
FindMyAdventure is one of Pakistan’s hottest startups to come about in the past year. The online travel portal recently won the startup competition at Digital Youth Summit 2017 that was organized by the KPK IT Board and World Bank. In a short span of ten months, FindMyAdventure has served 3,000 travel enthusiasts and is continuing to grow. The startup was formed by a group of five LUMS alumni.
Syed Haider Raza is the CEO of FindMyAdventure. He did his Bachelor’s in Economics from LUMS in 2014. Prior to starting the company, Mr. Haider worked at P&G as an Assistant Brand Manager.
BR Research: Briefly describe the core services offered by the startup.
Syed Haider Raza: FindMyAdventure is Pakistan’s first online travel and tourism marketplace that serves as a one-stop solution for trips, tours, and activities across the country. Our overarching aim is to make travel convenient for both Pakistanis and foreigners who wish to visit Pakistan.
All the traveler needs to do is search by activity or location and he/she will get a list of over 100 options to choose from, ranging from things to do on the beach of Karachi to tours going all the way to the Pak-China border in the north. If a customer wants a trip tailor-made for himself, friends, family, institute or company, our ‘Make My Adventure’ feature enables the customer to do just that. We act as travel consultants and help the customer make the best possible choice and then execute it as well.
All our trips are executed by our tour operator partners. The listings that you see on our website are the offerings from over 60 partners that we have on our panel. The aim is once again to provide a one-stop shop and make it convenient for the traveler to book their trips, tours, and activities.
BRR: How did the idea of launching a travel portal come about?
SHR: All of the founders are travel junkies and passionate about Pakistan! Having been actively involved in traveling Pakistan throughout our time in university, we saw the tremendous potential that Pakistan has in terms of being a tourism hotspot for the region and the world.
The issues that the local and international travel enthusiast faced were a lack of information, lack of convenience, and a lack of trust. Keeping these issues in mind – and fueled by the passion of promoting tourism in our beautiful country – we decided that a travel portal that addresses the key issues in the market aforementioned was the need of the hour. We wanted to do something different that would have a wider impact.
BRR: Where is the startup located and how many team members does it currently have? Is it registered as a private company or as a partnership?
SHR: The startup is located in Karachi and Lahore. We have a team of 10 people and it is registered as a partnership.
BRR: What kinds of partnerships in the tourism sector are required for this startup to succeed? How has been the response so far?
SHR: The most important partnership is with our vendors. We are providing a platform where their offerings are being listed. So far, the response from them has been great. Our partner tour operators share our vision for showcasing the brilliance of Pakistan and providing outstanding experiences.
BRR: What is the revenue model? What kind of investments were made?
SHR: The model is simple. We charge a commission from our partners against every customer that books through our portal. There is no up charge to the customer for using our services. The investments made have been in improving the technology for a better user experience and marketing to gain more traction and awareness amongst our target audience.
BRR: What is your target market and how are you trying to reach it?
SHR: Our target market is pretty much anyone who wants to travel in Pakistan. This segment is primarily 18-40 year olds that book day and weekend trips near big cities and also go for longer trips when they have more days off from work or their educational institutes.
BRR: How is the startup structured? Has it received any external funding to date?
SHR: The startup is structured as a partnership and we have not been in the market to raise funding as of yet.
BRR: How many customers have been served so far? What are the business objectives for the coming years?
SHR: We have served about 3,000 customers so far. Our objective is that whenever a person thinks of travelling in Pakistan, they think FindMyAdventure. We want to be laser focused on what we do well, which is trips, tours, and activities, and be the biggest player in the industry.
BRR: Why does the website provide no information on this startup, its people, contact address, safety policy, and terms and conditions?
SHR: This is something we are changing very soon. We recognized this from the feedback received from customers and very soon you’ll be seeing changes to address this.
BRR: What is the strategy to compete with the tour operators? Since this startup is only interfacing online, how does it differentiate from Facebook-based travel groups?
SHR: We are actually not competing with tour operators at all. They are our partners in this venture and we serve as a platform where they share their offerings and get incremental customers.
BRR: We keep hearing that the security situation has improved in Pakistan. Is it reflected in your business? How many foreigners do you get?
SHR: The security situation most certainly has improved over time. People are now more comfortable in traveling to places where they haven’t been before and this is largely due to the improvements in the internal security dynamics. From this, the travel industry and the people who want to travel (the customers) benefit as a whole.
Traveling within Pakistan is relatively cheap and the landscapes that we have are unlike any that can be found in the world; and with the improved security situation, everyone benefits.
As for foreigners, the number that we have served is not that large. However, in the coming few months, we plan to actively tap into that market as well.
BRR: What areas are the most visited by your customers? Can you give a breakdown by region?
SHR: In terms of trips that are above five days, Hunza is the most popular region followed by Skardu, Swat, and the Naran Kaghan region.
For trips below five days, Balochistan and activities by the coast of Karachi are the most popular.