Why we invested in Trell?
We recently co-led a seed investment in Trell, along with BeeNext, and the round saw participation from several prominent angels and Sprout VC.
Trell is a video & photo first platform for creating stories of one’s local and outbound journeys. Every ‘Trail’ is a story; a collection of geo-tagged images and/or videos with a short text for each image, highlighting the users experience at that location. Most travelers tend to enjoy the planning stage of the vacation a lot. While the world has moved on to visual or video content, most travel planning still involves reading lengthy forums, articles etc. without having any idea if the person who is authoring these enjoys the same things as you do. Further, there’s no way of knowing whether the advice offered is still relevant (We’ve all had the experience of tumbling across threads in TripAdvisor forums on which the last comment was made way back in 2012, and an automated message would read “this post has been closed due to inactivity”.)
World over, younger people are traveling more than ever, and are now looking for varied experiences and meaning from their journeys; but, most still have to rely on a platform which was founded in 2000!
A material volume of Instagram posts is connected to travel, and no doubt, this helps a lot for travel inspiration, but probably not too much for the travel planning stage. There’s very less context around a picture in Instagram and it’s hard to figure out the chronology of events. In most cases, the actual story is posted in the ‘stories’ platform which in any case, is ephemeral.
I came to know the company first as a user of the Trell platform. I had traveled to New Zealand in late 2017, and I decided to post content from the trip, including the route I had taken on the app, in the form of a story/ “trail”. I was pleasantly surprised when within a few hours, I had around 300 followers (none of which were people I knew before), and thousands of “try-outs” for my trip. The engagement made me realize that a lot of people out there were probably looking for easy visual/video travel suggestions. Just a few days earlier, I had spent an hour speaking to a friend who was planning a trip to the country on what to expect and possible itineraries. Just that, on the app, the same elaboration possibly helped a lot more people, and in the process helped me gain some social credit. (Link to the trail)
The founders, Prashant Sachan, Pulkit Agarwal, Arun Lodhi, Bimal Kartheek want to enable people to become story-tellers and make this the go-to platform for anything related to local or outbound travel experiences. They are super passionate about the product and did 9 major iterations (after testing the market via Instagram) before it hit the first inflection point (the fact that they won the prestigious Mobile UX award for Social & Communications category, around the same time, is a cherry on top).
At WEH Ventures, we believe in the power of community and, user-generated content, especially videos, lends the platform a heightened level of authenticity. Trell is targeting two very large markets (local & travel) and we are stoked to have partnered with them in the first leg of their growth.