Live the World, an Antwerp-based startup that is creating a digital slow travel guide, has announced the closure of its pre-seed funding round, raising €300K from undisclosed angel investors.
Live the World launched in December 2020. Entrepreneurs Joris Vanherp and Zoë Vets joined forces in their mission to create a fun and easy-to-use travel planning platform which provides personalized content and recommendations. Unlike other popular travel platforms, Live the World does not promote activities based on commissions. Travellers seeking local, authentic experiences for their trip planning will find their ideal solution on Live the World’s travel application.
The company is accomplishing this through its unique selling propositions: authentic slow travel experiences verified by locals; 100% independent information in a bite-sized, trusted format; personalized and curated activities driven by AI technology; a fun and easy to use experience.
The platform is currently in beta and temporarily free to use, with a focus on Belgium. In Belgium alone, Live the World has content of over 300 activities (of which 200+ activities COVID-proof) live on site.
The startup is now ready for its next stage of growth and will become a pay-for-content platform where a user pays in the form of a subscription or by country in order to access the application and its content. “By doing this, we literally put a stamp of authentication on our content, we can promise we will be 100% independent and never push certain tours or activities, as we don’t receive commissions like most websites do”, said Zoë Vets, co-founder of Live the World. “By making sure we have local and relevant experiences wrapped up with amazing yet simple product features, our target community gets what they’re looking for, and is willing to pay for this premium.”
With the money raised from the pre-seed round, the start-up plans to focus on growth across 3 key areas. The first being the creation of content in new countries. The startup plans to expand into Czech Republic and the Netherlands this summer and into more countries by the end of 2021.
The second will be building the product functionality and taking it to the next level. This includes a travel guide feature where you will be able to read country, province and city-level general content just as you would in a traditional travel guide book. Live the World will also start to build trip planning functionality where you can build and plan your very own itinerary in an interactive, simple way that you can easily share with your fellow travellers.
Lastly, the company will use the money to grow their user base as well as recruit additional employees to support its strong growth plans.
Currently planning a trip takes a lot of time – on average a person visits over 121+ travel sites before booking a trip (according to an EXPEDIA survey). “You have to scroll through thousands of blogs, check social media, buy a travel guide and then try to put this all together in some kind of spreadsheet or document”, said Joris Vanherp, co-founder of Live the World, “Simply put, there is information overload, but you often get the same, unreliable information. We want to make it easy for our community to find those authentic & local experiences. We also plan to use artificial intelligence in the future to make personalized recommendations and itineraries.”
“The slow travel trend is becoming more and more relevant, particularly once the world opens up again after the COVID vaccinations. People are more and more looking for unique, smaller-scale experiences, and avoiding the major tourist attractions,” said Zoë Vets, co-founder of Live the World.