In each issue we cover a variety of startups looking to disrupt their industries. Check out two of the coolest launches of 2016 thus far.
Traveling to Latin America may seem intimidating and challenging, but this new web-based platform can make scheduling tours while there a little bit easier. Created by Andrea Vidler and Eugena Brown, LocalAventura connects travelers with trusted local guides for more authentic, unique, and customizable travel experiences in Latin America.
LocalAventura allows visitors to plug in where they are traveling to so they can see the tours that are being offered near where they will be staying. After that the user is brought to another page that offers tour options by category including “Nature Lover,” “Foodie,” “Night Owl,” “Wino” and many more. Once the tour is selected, they will be able to purchase the tour electronically and will be paired with a professional, passionate, and personable tour guide. The website is easy to navigate and allows for quick transactions.
Vidler and Brown were attending The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania when they came up with the idea for LocalAventura during an innovation challenge. The cofounders learned that this idea had the most interest, especially from local tour guides who expressed that their biggest challenge was finding customers, which is what they knew LocalAventura could help them do.
Vidler and Brown bootstrapped and applied for grants and startup competitions to find early stage funding. Launching in March 2016, the company now has between 30-40 guides across three countries (Argentina, Chile and Peru). The company is currently working on building their community and customer base. The goal is for LocalAventura to expand into other countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica and Mexico.
Vidler said that LocalAventura has pretty cool, unique offerings. Currently, LocalAventura has a wide market and geographically customers are 70 percent American, 20 percent European, and 10 percent from New Zealand, Australia and Brazil.
Starting the company at the age of 28, Vidler certainly takes pride being a woman in the startup world. “Today, we are seeing more and more female leaders emerge in the startup world, like Leila Janah of Samasource or Miki Agrawal of Thinx. These sort of women push me everyday because as more female leaders emerge, the startup world becomes more accessible for future female leaders,” Vidler said.
Born in Chile but raised in New York, Vidler understood the challenge of frequently traveling to Latin America. Vidler has now moved back to Chile to better run her company. Being located in Chile makes it easier for Vidler to connect with the local tour guides and test their services.
When asked what her best advice would be for other women who want to start a company, Vidler said, “I urge fellow women in and out of the business world to consciously fight the instinct to be perfect and instead take risks, test alternatives, and break the current system.”
Vidler adds, “I say talking yourself up sometimes is the best thing you can do for yourself. Don’t be afraid to tell your boss, your investors, or your team exactly what you’re doing well or speak confidently about your talents. In the business world this doesn’t make you sound like a brag, but instead reminds others of the value you provide.”
LocalAventura is now an up and running service. To find out more information or book a tour in Latin America, visit https://www.localaventura.com/.
Name Net Worth
How do you measure the impact of networking? A startup team from Springfield, Massachusetts is setting out to do just that for companies. Name Net Worth is a connective platform that leverages trusted relationships, to measure and strengthen your personal and professional networks.
Cofounded by Jeremy Casey, Shaun McGrady and Pamela Thornton, the app’s target audience are companies that want to measure their team’s impact from networking activities and how it affects the business overall. Additionally, they also serve membership organizations because they are dependent on sponsorship from companies to make their organizations successful. These organizations will able to share the analytics from their events with businesses that invest in them.
“I saw an opportunity to create a product that is needed in the marketplace and I knew I wasn’t the only one who needed it,” Thornton, Name Net Worth’s COO, said. “I was the president of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield and the Human Resource Management Association of Western New England and knew that both of these organizations were doing amazing things. The events were well-attended and people were building relationships and their businesses as a result of it, but I had no way to measure exactly what they were getting out of it. This is where the idea for the app was born.”
The team used a combination of personal loans and donations from friends and family to bootstrap their way to beta testing. While Thornton acknowledges there are other apps out there that measure your reaction to a social interaction, they don’t measure how, where and how much that connection contributes to your success. As the only woman on her startup team, Thornton holds her own and manages and executes all of the day to day operations. She is responsible for charting the course and ensuring that they are all continuing to develop strategies to implement the app and providing vehicles for networking skills education. She said their first priority is to launch the mobile app that tracks the ROI of networking.
The market opportunity gave her the courage to take the leap from her day job and plunge into working at Name Net Worth fulltime. “I believe in this product solution and I am working with an amazing team to create it. I wanted to take the opportunity to make something great while the timing was right. The market is ripe for a product like this and our team has the experience to deliver it,” Thornton said.
To keep abreast of Name Net Worth and its release, follow them on Facebook.
Reporting done by Evelyn Fiske and Natasha Clark.