Big bucks of a prize fund worth €280,000 will be divided up between 9 winning start-ups and so we thought it wise to interview one of last years regional winners - Albert Quigley Founder of Gnarly Adventure, an online inspiration engine for activities, places, festivals, events and attractions. We found out a little more about the business model behind their online platform, what Seedcorn meant to their business, and what advice they can pass on to this years applicants.
Online platforms can be tough businesses to crack! In terms of your business, how easy was it to demonstrate to Seedcorn that your online platform had high growth potential?
There are a number of features to our business model that demonstrated the growth potential for our platform. First was the size of the global adventure tourism market - contributing €69bn to global GDP with a growth rate of 17% every year. Compare this to a growth rate of just 4% for all other tourism sectors combined. Second was the need to be addressed. Adventure tourism providers are an under-serviced industry in terms of online software and sustainable marketing platforms that deliver a return on their investment in terms of both time and money. One of the major problems for providers is that they need to maintain numourous unconnected accounts across multiple website portals. To update their content they must login to each account separately to add and update content. And that content is usually just a business listing. This results in content that is static and out of date.
Gnarly Adventure solves these problems. As a marketplace adventure tourism SMEs can add their portfolio of bookable products and services to GnarlyAdventure.com with descriptions, pricing, itineraries and much more. Then through its growing network of affiliate partners, Gnarly Adventure delivers this bookable content everywhere online that’s matters –lifestyle and review sites, mobile apps, travel and accommodation sites, city guides, and any other site or service where there is potential to sell adventure tourism product content. This allows clients to update their product offering across the web from one place, putting the SME in control of their content and pricing, and creating a global sales pipeline through the Gnarly Adventure affiliate partner network. Clients will also have access to Gnarly Adventure's SaaS business management solutions, letting them to manage bookings and enquiries; staff and availability; resources including facilities and equipment; content distribution networks; and view performance analytics to help them make more informed decisions about their business.
What did being a Seedcorn Regional Winner mean to your business?
The cash injection from the prize fund of €20,000 was a definite bonus. But more importantly was the validation of our business model and the PR, networking and mentoring generated and provided by InterTradeIreland.
Any tips for entrants in making a successful application to the competition?
Use the InterTradeIreland Business Cube as a template for creating your business plan. Then just answer the questions that are asked. It's that simple. You don't need to ramble. It's your business so you should be able to answer all the questions easily. Any questions you don't have an answer for means you need to go figure out that answer to ensure your business model is solid. And don't use jargon.
Tell us about your plans for the business for the next 18 months. Any exciting news you can share!
The next 18 months will see Gnarly Adventure launch a new brand, which is in the process of being created, dedicated to it's Business products and services. GnarlyAdventure.com will then become a purely consumer facing portal and part of the New Brand network of partner websites where all our client content is streamed and published. We plan to grow our network of affiliate partner websites substantially and also launch new SaaS products to enhance our service offering.
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