Meet the Entrepreneur: MeetJune
The concept behind MeetJune is simple, but powerful. A new kind of travel platform that bridges the gap between travellers and locals, part of the rapidly emerging sharing economy. After all, with the "global middle class" increasing from 1.8 billion in 2009 to 3.2 billion by 2020 and 4.9 billion by 2030, the demand for unique and affordable travel experiences will only grow.
Co-founder Gábor Margés discusses how - after being inspired by an unforgettable encounter in Salvador, Brazil - MeetJune are pioneering a new kind of travel marketplace for authentic cultural experiences through passionate local hosts. Their first 3 launch cities will be Amsterdam, Buenos Aires and Istanbul, but a highly scalable platform means the possibilities for expansion are endless.
When did you decide to become an entrepreneur, and why?
My entrepreneurship evolved from wanderlust. From a young age I would join my parents in touring Europe by caravan. 15 years on and I've launched multiple travel companies, I'm the owner of custom-made travel company Pure Latin America, and now we're on the brink of launching MeetJune, a one-of-a-kind travel platform that shows travellers the true story of a city, as told by passionate locals.
The idea for MeetJune came when I visited Salvador, Brazil. I was staying in a guesthouse in the historic neighbourhood of Pelourinho when I got talking to Paulo, one of the employees. I noticed he was carrying a Portuguese-English dictionary with him, and he told me he was studying English so he could qualify for a better-paid job. I helped him to improve his vocabulary and pronunciation and in return he invited me over for dinner to meet his family. It turned out to be an amazing, everlasting experience.
Later that evening it struck me how privileged I was to be a part of their lives for that brief moment. I was truly taken aback by their pureness and hospitality. Paulo and his family gave me an insight into their life and culture that will stay with me forever. MeetJune was born out of the belief that this kind of unique experiences represents the essence of travelling.
What kind of entrepreneur are you?
I always prefer to leave this to the people I work with. From what I hear, I'm a hardworking, creative and passionate travel entrepreneur. In my opinion, passion equals motivation - I'm able to work long days and make all the effort because I don't feel like I'm working. I subscribe to the 'Golden Circle' business approach of Simon Sinek. The “why” is all that matters, the rest all comes down to execution.
In a few sentences, introduce your company
MeetJune is of one of the first worldwide travel platforms that connects travellers and locals, promoting unique and affordable travel experiences via meals, homestays and activities in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires and Istanbul. MeetJune is a home for anyone looking to experience honest local culture through passionate local hosts.
The concept of MeetJune is based on the emerging, global trend of the sharing economy. An economy that is expected to grow from $15 billion in 2014 to $335 billion by 2025. Looking further ahead, in terms of the travel industry as a whole, growth will be driven by a surge in first-time travellers from emerging markets. The new "global middle class" is expected to double by 2030, resulting in 1.8 billion new people eager to travel around the world.
Describe the past, present and future of your company
Last year we focused on developing MeetJune from an idea to a solid business plan with a unique brand design. We now have a website landing page that already attracts visitors from around the world. So far the response from travellers and locals has been incredible - we only wish we could fast-forward time to launching!
Our crowdfunding campaign on Symbid generated international visibility. We have received several informal investment agreements and expect to be successfully funded within 2 weeks. From that moment on we will start building our website for its launch in September. Next to this process we're meeting regularly with enthusiastic hosts in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires and Istanbul who subscribed via our website, and turning them into true brand ambassadors.
What is the unique value of the products/services you offer?
The name speaks for itself. MeetJune is not about hotspots and carrot cake, but the true story of a city as told by the people who live and love there. We are people-focused instead of experience-focused. Our concept is all about heart and authenticity.
What's more, we're one of the first global travel platforms to offer 3 separate services (meals, home-stays and activities) that cover everything a traveller does while visiting a city (eat, sleep and do). The MeetJune team consists of 3 highly experienced and dedicated founders with an extensive travel, tourism and marketing background. MeetJune is a highly scalable, global company. There are no constraints for geographic expansion, as all transactions take place online and in English.
What is the main goal of your equity crowdfunding campaign?
The start-up capital required to launch MeetJune - the way we envision it - is €65.000, and we're delighted to be on course for that total. This capital will mainly be spent on pre-operational expenses (website and product development) and launch support (marketing campaigns) for the first few months.
We will then focus on a few essential activities to help us create a deep-rooted, solid organisation with a dedicated, global network. These activities will support our business growth and ensure we constantly deliver best-in-class services to our customers and partners:
Establishing a trustworthy, easy-to-navigate and compelling website with a great user experience
Creating a solid database of high quality, passionate local hosts
Building an active community of followers on all major social media channels
What have you learnt from your equity crowdfunding campaign so far?
Equity crowdfunding, and crowdfunding in general, is all about strategic planning. It took us a few months to come up with a strong campaign which we felt confident would attract the necessary start-up capital before the due date. We're happy to see that this approach pays off.
Momentum is another crucial aspect. Regular updates, transparency and adequate feedback to questions all help to involve people and are essentials for a successful campaign.
The main reason we chose Symbid was their national and international reach. This enormous reach and the strong involvement of their network are great bonuses for our business. The Symbid team have the experience and know-how to activate this network on behalf of their campaigns.
Give 3 key reasons to invest in your company
Benefit. As a highly scalable platform, we foresee our community growing exponentially on a global basis, generating lots of benefits for our investors.
Unique. MeetJune will be one of the first global travel platforms where travellers truly connect with locals, promoting unique experiences and helping create a sustainable society through cultural exchange. The sharing economy is a new and smarter approach to business. MeetJune offers a new, sustainable approach to travel consumerism.
Team. MeetJune is born out of passion for travel and the belief that local knowledge and passion holds are the future of our industry. The company is led by three highly experienced and dedicated founders who have the skills and networks to grow MeetJune into a global success.
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