The startup I built after travelling the world for a year

Exactly 6 months ago I came back from what was the most adventurous thing I have done in my life. Soon after, I got time to work on an idea that had been boiling in my head during months of travelling.

This is how we created Nomads; your backup backpack and handy storage shelf in the cloud.

Turning 30 made me panic

A year and a half ago things just didn’t feel right in my life. I needed a change. I sold my car and apartment, quit my job and dropped off everything I owned at some friends’. The plan was a solo trip to South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It never felt more right to leave my comfort zone. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

The first month was mostly adapting to my new nomadic life and connecting to some of the most beautiful and inspiring people in the world. Soon after, things escalated quickly.

My life went full speed:

Yet one thing really annoyed me

There was one thing me and a lot of other backpackers hated: living out of a single backpack. 11 months with 25 kg. Dragging your belongings from place to place and wearing the same clothes every week. Wouldn’t it be lovely to get a box full of your fresh clothes shipped to you, making it possible to exchange your nomadic wardrobe without throwing your other clothes away? Or when changing countries and you need heavy hiking boots instead of your dusty flip-flops? Or if your Macbook crashes, wouldn’t it be handy to have an external hard disk within a mouse click’s reach?

The idea we came up with

When I got back to work at madewithlove I started thinking. A few brainstorm sessions with my colleagues later, we came up with Nomads. A digital storage service for physical goods, specifically aiming to help travelers and nomads out. A flexible online wardrobe that delivers things you may need along the way but couldn’t bring, via an online tool. Nomads is your backup backpack.

With Nomads, you order a few boxes that you fill with stuff you don’t need for a while. You then have the possibility to recall any of your boxes whenever you want, to a location of choice. Nomads will handle the shipping so you can further focus on worry-less exploring the world.

Soon we created An MVP that makes it possible to order an amount of boxes that get delivered straight to your doorstep.

Currently, the service is only for users living in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg. We are working on better deals with transportation companies to make our product available to Nomads in Europe and the rest of the world.

Our iPhone app is hitting the App Stores soon!

We built a startup on our friday afternoons

Next to organizing a retreat for the team, a part of my job is to kickstart internal projects and shape possible ideas into small startups. Madewithlove creates specific time for this by blocking every Friday afternoon from client work.

Our choice to invest Friday afternoons in working on own ideas puts me straight into the driver’s seat. Yet, I am sure that the invested time and resources will eventually reward this choice big time. And I’ve still got plenty of dreams waiting on a handful of skilled developers to get realised.

Feel free to tell us how Nomads could become a better product. Or if you have any other wishes our service should or shouldn’t have? Looking forward to collaborating on something? Just let us know.

Check it out:

I’m Yannick De Pauw, product manager at madewithlove, and I try to put a smile on my colleagues faces, so we can achieve even greater things together.

Having studied graphic design I’ve always had a big interest in photography and pretty things. Next to playing games and Bruce Springsteen, I recently also fell in love with travelling the world.