About last year: the best early-stage start-up GuestJoy is moving towards a global footprint
September 07, 2018Remember the amazing hotels guest communication tool GuestJoy? That’s right – it’s the best early stage start-up from our last year festival’s competition. The startup who brought home, besides the title, 160K investment from business angels of EstBAN. Let’s take a look how they’ve been doing.
It's been 9 months since your win on the sARTAR Day's best early stage start-up competition. What has happened, what has changed since then?
Quite many positive aspects have been appeared. Now we can use all the knowledge from the investors, which we didn’t have before. The intuition of the founders works only works in limited cases. For sure, our ambition has grown. If you have the resources, then you dare to dream more. The problems of reality doesn’t kill the dream for the brighter future any more.
A softer value is also an easier communication with the partners. The investment gives you the so called quality token. At the very beginning, investors won’t take you very seriously. Due to that it takes a lot of time to get your foot in the door.
Besides the big title – best early stage start-up of the year – you earned a 160K investment from EstBAN business angels. How have you used the investment?
We’ve used it for increasing the team – both in development and sales. We’ve made several business trips and joint events with partners, which we couldn’t afford before. Also we have started with refreshing our brand.
What have been the biggest success, failures and lessons of the year?
The fact, that our growth has continues, is definitely a success! We haven’t left ourselves resting on the laurels.
What could have been better – the recruitment. We feel that finding the good employees is slowing down our growth. It takes a lot of time and the result isn’t always the best. We’re seriously considering for applying the remote work culture, where the employee doesn’t necessarily have to be in Estonia.
What do you dream of? Which is your masterplan for the feature?
Besides exit we dream of leaving the real global footprint. Currently we’re working only in Europe, but we really wish that our guests could enjoy our services at every corner of the world. We don’t see a reason why the guests in Buenos Aires or Sidney shouldn’t be able to use the same features as we have here in Tallinn hotels.
In last October you said to Estonian technology portal Geenius that you’re planning to enter the larger tourist destinations in Central and Western Europe during the year. How's that gone?
We have had to change our plans a bit. In some Central and West European countries we perceived a serious language barrier that prevented us from making successful sales. That lead to that point we had to put some countries on hold, like Poland and Malta. It’s difficult to sell the product if the opposite party doesn’t fully understand you. We realized, that we needed a local representative there, but we weren’t ready for that step yet. Then we took the direction for North European countries and Ireland, where we’re doing very well. We make most of the sales on the phone and Skype, but at the early phase of every new market we try to go the country at first for sensing the market and get the first reference customers.
What tips would you give to other start-ups that target similar markets?
Visit the country at least once – it gives you the better sense of the market. If you get a great bond with some client, try to get as much insights about the dynamics of market as can get. Looking at the map, all countries can look similar, but the purchasing behaviour or the market barriers may vary drastically.