The BizSpark startup of the day is Tripware, based in the US. You will find below an interview with Dean M. Wright, Marketing Manager of Tripware. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Dean M. Wright, Marketing Manager of Tripware
Tell us who you are and your role in the company.
I head up Marketing, Brand, and Product Marketing. I’m the stereotypical jack-of-all-marketing at our company.
What did you do before creating your company?
I spent many years in consumer packaged goods but then found my true passion working for start-ups, dabbling in mobile technology, consulting, and SaaS. I’ve been a road-warrior for most of my career; I’m energized to apply my hands-on knowledge of business travel to Tripware’s product suite.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
Formally, I’m honored we have been selected and that we now are associated with a strong list of other ‘Startup of the Day’ companies. Casually, I hope we get new users as a result!
What is your company’s mission?
Many business travel choices and preferences are redundant and repetitive. Typically, travel technology restricts or interferes with travel planning, booking, and managing; the technology does not relieve stress, recommend better options, or realize enhanced revenue. Our goal is to make business trips simply effective by leveraging Behavioral Travel Management.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
Tripware has had two angel contributions with another one pending. The angel investments amount to $3.4 million. Considering we are new to the travel software industry and similar start-ups have raised/spent $10 to $20 million dollars at our stage, we are proud of our bootstrapping, frugality and productivity. That being said, we seek $8 to $12 million to further market our products and take them global.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have 10 employees of which seven are developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring and where?
We expect a hiring burst in last 2010 that will consist of software developers but also some sales and marketing folks.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We build on the .Net framework and are optimized for Microsoft Outlook 2007 / 2010. Our main product, OutBook, is a client-server application. We have a patent-pending for our proprietary behavioral travel management algorithms and have spent over 18 months developing source code for our products to integrate with travel partners and global distribution systems. We chose Microsoft Outlook as our main focus because it is the lion’s share of the marketplace for calendar clients and they have a great focus on small businesses and cloud computing.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet area?
We certainly see mobile as an opportunity but also a move away from applets to “cloud droplets”. In other words, we see people having an umbrella of screens (mobile, desktop, tablet, tv, ereader, etc) that access the applications in the cloud. While full market acceptance of this model is several years off, we are developing our products to be very thin clients that connect into datacenters.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
It’s a brilliant strategy/tactic. It shows how Microsoft values innovation, small businesses and opportunity. I would like to see the program to become more well-known.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Most start-ups fail. Get with a start-up in an industry that interests you so while you’re writing mad code you are enjoying your work and getting valuable experience. The start-up might fail, but you can succeed and grow.
Who’s your role model?
While she is the zeitgeist role model, Ayn Rand. I’ve been a fan of her for almost 20 years. Upon moving to the U.S., she was considered a foreigner and minority. However, she outlined her value system and work ethic and remained true to both.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview
That there is a better way to travel. In the words of the ‘Video Professor’, “Try my product!”.