Compared to Berlin and London, Vienna’s Start-up scene is rather small. But the community of young entrepreneurs is growing steadily. Start Vienna counts 144 start-ups in the Austrian capital. But who are these young people who start the adventure of founding their own company? And what are they actually doing? From now on we will present you one Austrian start-up each month.
Our June start-up: journi
What is journi?
journi is a combination of the words “journey” and “journal”. journi’s tagline, travel blogging rediscovered, already describes the idea in brief. With journi’s mobile app, which will be available from Monday June 16 in the Apple Appstore, travelers can document their trips with pictures, notes and maps on-the-go. The offline travel journal can easily be shared with friends and family at home once connected to the internet. Trips that have been recorded update themselves when connected, so the ones at home receive the latest news. This feature makes journi a social platform, as it allows you to follow your friends’ trips and share yours with the people you want to keep in the loop.
Who is behind it?
The journi-team is made up of six enthusiastic young travel-lovers coming from different backgrounds. Founded by Bianca Busetti, Andreas Röttl and Christian Papauschek the early team already represented various skill sets. Andreas studied economy, was involved in the company behind Pioneers.io and was working as an executive assistant at Austrian Telecom. Bianca worked as an industrial designer and Christian brought the much needed technical skills to the team.
The three founders then extended their knowledge base by bringing Carina Wetzlhütter, Stefan Raffeiner and Rodrigo Escobar into their team. Carina has a tourism management background and handles the marketing and PR topics. She also supports the journi community. Stefan and Rodrigo worked on the development of the iPhone app, Rodrigo coding remotely from Panama.
How did journi start?
journi was founded in March 2014. Before that the three founders co-founded miavia, an online platform where users could publish their own travel itineraries and sell them for little money to others interested in that specific trip.
“The value of miavia was primarily given for the ones documenting their own trips. But people did not really make use of the possibility to buy those itineraries. That’s why we spent basically the whole winter to interview users and get some feedback on miavia. We saw that we definitely had to find a mobile solution. And the product had to include two components: documenting your trip and sharing it with your friends and family at home.” says Carina.
After a lot of UX testing and getting feedback from their test user community journi is about to launch the app for iOS7. The decision to launch journi as a standalone product and not as part of miavia was a way to rebrand. New and trendy colours, a contemporary logo and a name that is intuitively pronounced correctly by English speakers led to the foundation of journi.
“Of course it was a low in our motivation when we realized that miavia is not working out the way it was planned. But the idea behind journi and what it could do for our fellow travellers got us excited again and we worked hard to get it down the road. “ continues Carina.
Where does the money come from?
journi and before that miavia was mostly bootstrapped and self-funded by the founders. Early in 2014 journi got a seed-investment of $ 100k. They were also accepted by the Austrian economic chamber into the “Go Silicon Valley” program which gives the team the opportunity to spend 3 months in San Francisco. They hope to establish interesting contacts and find investors there. Looking into the future journi will offer premium content to its users to generate income. They are also exploring other options to raise money.
And what about the future?
The whole journi team will spend the next three months in the US trying to find out what the future might hold for them. They are in need of further investments to being able to continue with their venture. The development of an Android-app is planned as a next step as soon as the app was tested on the iOS platform. Furthermore, the web platform will be developed so that users are able to add photos taken with their cameras (other than the one on their mobile device). journi wants to become a platform for travel memories and the team is already thinking about further tools that could be developed for their community.