FORMER Mackay lad Ryan Hanly has turned a love for travel and adventure into a multi-million-dollar business, receiving a $1.26million boost from investors for his travel startup, Travello.
Travello fills a niche ‘pre-Facebook’, connecting travellers who have not yet met – giving the app a clear point of difference from Facebook, which relies on connecting people who are already friends or acquaintances.
It has been downloaded more than 60,000 times by users in Australia, the USA, UK, and in more than 180 other countries.
Mr Hanly created Travello with co-founder and fellow North Queenslander Mark Cantoni to connect travellers from all countries, allowing them to meet up and share tips, recommendations and even a bite to eat.
Mr Hanly, who grew up in West Mackay and went to school at Mercy and St Patrick’s colleges, said the company had attracted first-round equity investment from people and companies who had not previously invested in technology companies.
“For most of our investors this is their first foray into technology; they come from accounting, trucking, medicine and property development backgrounds,” he said.
“With nine million outbound travellers from Australia each year, we expect this app will become an essential pre-departure download, especially for those in the 18-34 demographic.”
“Backpackers have flocked to this platform, but we are also seeing strong take-up from adventurers, expats and even solo-travellers, who are keen to meet like-minded people.”
Travello’s first funding round was recently oversubscribed, with 22 investors staking $1.26m in the company, valuing the emergent business at $4.56million.
The company has already been recognised by experienced start-up mentors, successfully graduating from the River City Labs and muru-D accelerator program, selected out of more than 80 start-ups nationally that applied for the program.
Mr Hanly said the investment would allow the business to hire essential technology-focused employees, explore marketing opportunities to drive growth, and bolster the current team of two developers, with new features already planned.
“We have exciting opportunities on our development roadmap, including more location-based services, recommendations based on shared interest, as well as viral loops that encourage sharing of content and recommendations to non-user friends,” he said.
“As Travello evolves, it really will become the ‘go-to’ app for travellers across a range of demographics.
“Once users log on, they typically stay on for more than five minutes, which shows it has enduring engagement for our customers.
“Like any technology company, we recognise we have to continue innovating to give users a product they want to keep coming back to, and so far, we are on the right track.”
The young company has also had significant interest from a range of global companies, intrigued by what they are doing in this space and are interested in what sort of commercial partnership opportunities could be possible with Travello right now.
You can download Travello from the App Store and the Google Play store.
What is Travello?
Travello is a social network that connects travellers in more than 180 countries. Available on iPhone and Android, Travello allows travellers to meet and connect with other likeminded people either on the road or even before they leave.
Travello is growing organically, but the young, Brisbane-headquartered company with just six employees just closed an oversubscribed round of investment ($1.25M). The company is expecting exponential growth over the next 12 months and anticipates being the clear industry leader within the next year.