Monday, May 18, 2015

Triplynr wants to be the Google of Travel Itineraries

If you love technology and travelling, you have to check out Triplynr. Triplynr (pronounced “trip-liner), wants to streamline trip-planning and help users discover new places through peer reviews. Users create their travel itinerary on Triplynr, and share it with the rest of the community.

Once the itinerary has been created, users can book hotel rooms and their flights with integrated links to Expedia and Skyscanner.

When Triplynr launches its iOS and Android app in June, users will also able to take their itinerary with them on their phone. This includes maps stored locally in the phone’s memory, eliminating the need to download the data with expensive, overseas mobile data plans.
Trip-planning made easy

Co-founders Leo Tan and Sean Yang love to travel. The duo have taken over 50 trips in total, but when Leo started planning a post-graduation, 21-day backpacking trip to Europe, he saw an opportunity to streamline months of planning.

Now, instead of planning for 6 months, Triplynr users can replicate Leo’s trip in three clicks; they simply need to login, click on his profile, and click “Copy Trip”. No more opening multiple tabs in your browser to compare attractions and sights.

To give users greater peace-of-mind, Triplnyr allows the community to rate travellers and their itineraries. To prevent commercial parties from ‘gaming’ the system like popular business rating portal Yelp, users can also rate reviews. As it expands, the team also intends to hire curators to help moderate user-created itineraries.

And while Triplynr allows users to filter trips by location or themes (backpackers, foodies, honeymoon, family, budget, etc.), the co-founders have a firm rule against ‘sex holidays’ – a source of controversy for tourism in South East Asia.

Leo said the team are focused on providing a wholesome experience for travellers. He said, “We want people to have a pleasant experience. Triplynr is about exploring and experiencing the world.”

A start-up with a plan 
 In March 2014, Leo and Sean started working on Triplynr in a ‘part-time’ capacity, with Sean going to Leo’s home 3-4 times a week to write its code over a period of seven months.

Four months ago, the two friends, who have known each other since their poly days, left their jobs at prominent IT companies to work on Triplynr full-time.

During a car ride home, Leo also pitched the idea to Terence Yeong, his former NTU classmate. Terence was sold on the idea, and he currently serves as Triplynr’s Mobile Lead.

The trio of 28-year-olds estimate that 60% of travellers use their phones for booking, so they are working hard to create both mobile apps, and a full- responsive, mobile-friendly website.

The team intends to conclude the beta testing phase towards the end of June, with the mobile apps set to launch around the same time.

In terms of marketing, the team has its sight sets on ASEAN, specifically Thailand and Indonesia, and they intend to rollout localised versions of the service for different regions. Triplynr users can also look forward to ‘randomise’ and ‘Genius’ features that will create and recommend itineraries based on user’s past history.

For monetization, they will receive a commission of sales made through Expedia and Skyscanner. They also intend to work with travel agents, and attraction retailers to help sell tickets and other packages. For added convenience, a future concierge service will help users purchase and consolidate all their tickets.

Gaining a Headstart with NEST
From left: Terence Yeong, Sean Yang and Leo Tan at NEST.
As Triplynr grows, they are mindful of the strong support they have received from NYP.

Before Sean received his Bachelor of Information Technology from the University of Queensland, he obtained a Diploma in Electronics, Computer & Communications from NYP, and his connection to the Polytechnic has proven to be a huge boon for the team. When they decided to develop Triplynr on a full-time basis, Sean learnt about ‘NEST’ from an NYP intern at his previous workplace.

The NYP Entrepreneurship Startup (NEST) programme provides incubator space, meeting rooms, work-stations, lockers and wireless connection to support entrepreneurship development.
It is a cosy place to interact, network and collaborate with fellow NYP staff, students, alumni and mentors.

Leo said, “Lucky for us, Sean is an NYP Alumni, so we can cut down on operational cost.” He praised the conducive space for entrepreneurs. When compared to other incubation spaces, he described NYP as their “best choice”. The team was also impressed by how quickly NYP responded to their requests.

Sean also commended NYP’s holistic approach in helping start-ups. He said that the Polytechnic helped them by giving them access to lecturers and publicity while showing them possible avenues for funding via government grants and venture capitalists. He said, “We are not just leveraging on space or electricity, but we are also leveraging on the expertise of NYP.”

Triplynr is currently open for an open beta.

Are you an NYP student or alumnus who is looking to create your own startup? Learn more from NEST here.

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