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Trekksoft powers the tours and activities industry from a Swiss Mountain Resort

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by Startacus Admin

SaaS Startup TrekkSoft provides online booking software to the tours & activities industry, and all from a Swiss Mountain Resort. We found out more...

Swiss SaaS startup Trekksoft are an inspiration to any new startup not based in the big smoke or a Trekksoft teamcapital city. If you think that you need to be based in a big startup ecosystem to necessarily succeed, think again.
 

Based in the heart of the Swiss Alps, in a town called Interlaken, Trekksoft values the opportunity that being based in the heart of a thriving tourism and adventure sports hotspot gives them.

Although Interlaken only has a population of approximately 5000, it is arguably the european ‘adventure capital’, giving Trekksoft the opportunity to network, market research and further validate, with both their target clients and customers, whether a formal meeting, or over a cheeky beer, pretty much on a daily basis. Perhaps if nothing else, this is a lesson many a startup could learn from - customer and client interaction can be key to validation and growth.

We chatted with the Olan O’Sullivan (sadly not whilst in interlaken itself), VP Marketing at Trekksoft to find out more about the business, the software services they offer to the tours and activities industry, and how they plan to further ‘peak’ their swiss SaaS business...

Olan O'Sullivan TrekksoftOlan, your own background is very entrepreneurial, so can you first tell us how the linkup with Trekksoft came about?

In November 2015, TrekkSoft acquired Acteavo the company I founded and ran. I was aware of TrekkSoft and its CEO, Jon Fauver, for some time and felt that TrekkSoft were well placed to take advantage of the growth of the activities market online. I came into TrekkSoft not expecting to hang around longer than 3-6 months, before moving on to a new venture, but having experienced the unique atmosphere in our Interlaken HQ I was hooked.

Give us your pitch - what does Trekksoft do and what problem does it solve?Trekksoft logo

TrekkSoft provides online booking software to the tours & activities businesses. Despite being the 3rd largest segment of the travel market, bigger than car rental and cruises combined, tours and activities have been slow to move online. More than two-thirds of suppliers manage reservations by a combination of email, spreadsheets and paper diaries. TrekkSoft allows its customers to manage, market and sell their tours via web based tools, including a website builder, mobile app and channel manager. This translates into less time spent on calendar management and more business via direct booking channels on your website or with channel partners such as Viator. On average, new customers increase their bookings by 26% in their first year with us.

Trekksoft SaaS Startup

Trekksoft is based in a Swiss mountain town - tell us the story about how a SasS startup manage to be born in the middle of an adventure sports hotspot!

Co-founder and CEO of TrekkSoft, Jon Fauver has worked in adventure travel, and tours and activities for over 25 years. Originally from New Hampshire, USA, Jon began as a raft guide in the Himalaya before founding Outdoor Interlaken (www.outdoor-interlaken.ch), Switzerland's largest adventure operator. In 2006, he became co-owner of Bus2Alps, a student-focussed tour operator and then co-founded TrekkSoft in 2010.

We're based in Interlaken, the European adventure capital, at the heart of the Swiss Alps. Whilst talent availability can prove problematic we've still managed to grow from 10 employees to 100 in under 2 years. Most importantly we're surrounded by our customers so our employees live and breathe the tour and activity industry.

We've also got a number of intangible benefits to offer new hires. 
Where else can you snowboard before work or go swimming in the river beside the office during lunch? TrekkSoft has a young vibrant team drawn from over 20 nationalities. This is a key point of differentiation for us.

Having had your own startup in Dublin, how do the Swiss and Irish startup ecosystems compare?

Being in Interlaken does somewhat insulate you from the rest of the Swiss tech scene, however two of our Swiss co-founders are well networked in Switzerland. From the outside looking in, one of the key differences is the availability of capital. In Dublin, the governement provides a number of supports at the micro seed level but beyond that the angel scene is fairly threadbare. Very quickly you find yourself pitching VCs who have the pick of opportunities in the country.

In Switzerland, the angel market is well funded, still conservative like the rest of Europe, but open to investing in local teams that have early traction and a demonstrated track record. Ireland took a big hit during the financial crisis, hopefully this is receding and successes like Intercom can lead to a more competitive fundraising environment.

How do you aim to further scale up your business operation?Trekksoft SaaS Startup

We have grown exponentially in the past 18 months. We did this by investing heavily in content marketing and multilingual support for our core European markets. In many ways, we were victims of our own success and slightly overburdened our sales team with a high volume of leads, which were not always sales ready. To that end, we've added a SDR/BDR department to free up our sales reps from qualification. In addition, we're investing heavily in our product to address the lucrative attractions and high volume tour operator segments with connections to hardware such as ticket printers and scanners.

Trekksoft


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Published on: 22nd March 2017

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