Launched in 2013, turismoi is aiming to become the number one tourism network of tours, activities for the entire Spanish-speaking world – 18 countries to be precise. Turismoi distinguishes itself by catering not only with powerful front-end services for clients, but also, back-end tools for tour operators and providers.
KITE Invest: Please describe the tourism market in Latin America, and what are the specific aspects that are missing in comparison to other regions that led to the creation of turismoi?
Diego Arbulu: Tours and activities industry is a US$30 billion industry in the US, US$37 billion industry in Europe and with untapped opportunities to disrupt and evangelize with digital tools a US$20 billion industry in Latin America. Tours and activities represent 11% of the total income of the travel industry.
With that said, local tour operators don’t have the expertise to develop sophisticated online strategies that can reach the huge demand by travelers who are looking for their services online. As a result, local travelers lack the web solutions where they can find complete information of a destination, with a supply of tours offered directly by local providers that can be booked or bought online. In this regard, we have found a fragmented industry and unsatisfied demand in tours and activities in Spanish speaking countries.
KITE: How is turismoi different from other tourist websites and platforms? What specific features and components make it stand out from competitors?
DA: We find competition with different business models, different markets and different value generation. For example we don’t do peer-to-peer activities, we are focused on Spanish speaking markets in the supply of tours and in the communication with local travelers. We think global but we act local, in creating the biggest tour and activities marketplaces for each of our countries so that local travelers can find the best things to do in their countries and the region.
KITE: If you had to select a tour, package and activity that turismoi is currently offering, which ones would you like to highlight and why?
DA: Today we have the most complete selection of tours and activities in Peru. An activity such as trekking through the Andes is a must that every traveler should try. Gastronomy tours are also in very high demand.
KITE: In terms of turismoi’s business and investment trajectory, the startup already boasts three investors, two angel investors and from government funded innovation program. What have these two distinct types of investors taught you as an entrepreneur?
DA: Constant communication of the work in progress and the achievement of milestones.
KITE: Is turismoi currently seeking funding? And if so, what are the parameters of the financing turismoi is looking for?
DA: Turismo has a round of investment open, the Seed round 2. In our previous seed round in 2013 we raised US$700,000. We are currently looking for a new US$300,000 for 15% of the company in a post money valuation of US$2,000,000 (pre money = US$1.700,000).
KITE: Why should an investor finance turismoi? When does turismoi estimate it will breakeven and what is the return on investment?
DA: We are developing the first network of marketplaces in tours and activities for Spanish speaking countries and have become the biggest player in the region in this travel industry.
We are looking for smart capital to expand to four new countries (Spain, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador) in this first phase of our international expansion.
We are working towards an aggressive series A in 2016 with a more aggressive valuation after accomplish our milestones of the seed round 2.
KITE: What have been some of the key milestones and what are some of the goals the company hopes to achieve in the near future? What challenges is turismoi faced with?
DA: We have had very good results with our test market, Peru. Since launching in 2013 we have had more that two million travelers visit Turismoi’s website (200,000 monthly visits), over 450 tour operators have registered, we have published more than 1,000 tours, and have 20,000 register users. We have generated over 30,000 bookings that have generated US$1,800,000 in sales for tour operators.
In 2015 we are set to join an alliance with the national tourism board in Peru (CANATUR) and with the city of Madrid with its “Madrid Emprende” program.
Our near future goal is to open the marketplace in four new countries (Spain, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador).
KITE: What does the turismoi team bring in terms of experience and knowledge of the tourism sector?
DA: We have a team with more than 10 years of working experience in the traditional travel industry and more the 15 years developing online business.
Turismoi was recently selected as the best startup in the Venture Day Madrid 2014, organized by IE Business School.