Elevator Pitch: kimkim

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Joost Schreve, co-founder of travelling marketplace kimkim.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Kimkim is a marketplace that makes it easy and fun for travellers to organize and book custom made trips. We connect travellers to a local specialist, based on the destination of choice. Travellers work with our specialists via the kimkim messaging platform to put together a fully organized trip and meeting the unique requirements of the traveller. Once the traveller is happy with all elements of the trip, they can book it in one transaction.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

kimkim is a two-sided market place which has distinct growth and retention strategies for both sides of the market place. We grow the demand side for travellers through a variety of digital marketing strategies, most notably content marketing. For the travel specialists, we grow the supply side mostly through referrals from our existing specialists, as well as recruiting new specialists at travel trade shows.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

As every trip booked on kimkim is bespoke, a great but also fun challenge has certainly been creating a platform that helps streamline the trip planning process.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

We are quite unique compared to existing online travel companies, in that we bring back the human touch of a travel specialist. You could call it the second coming of the travel agent. People have grown fatigued of the endless process of DIY trip planning and are delighted once they find out that a real human expert is helping them plan their trip on kimkim.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

I use my smart phone all the time. I am currently using an iPhone, but I switch back and forth between Android and iPhone to keep taps on both platforms.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Focus on solving a problem that meets three criteria:

  1. You are (or have the potential to be) among the best in the world at it
  2. You are passionate about the space and the problem
  3. Solving the problem will let you capture significant economic value.

After having been in the travel space for over 10 years, I think it meets all three criteria for me.


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