FreeGuides closes its seed round of funding in the midst of a lockdown, showing investor's strong belief in the future of travel
With over 160 experiences created, full launches in Australia and New Zealand and the implementation of sponsored experiences, FreeGuides is poised to continue its upwards trajectory amidst the pandemic. The small team which has grown to include 7 positions, is in a state of constant improvement, as they look to enhance the current algorithm, giving better recommendations to explorers in-app. The updated algorithm will ensure that highlighted experiences match the interest of new explorers.
Giles Bourne, Co-Founder and Director at Scalare Partners has been extremely impressed with the work of FreeGuides since their initial investment. “Scalare has supported FreeGuides in its funding round as we strongly believe in the founder's vision and passion to build FreeGuides into a global business. With the inevitable resumption of tourism, the market opportunity is significant."
Gene Barker, the GP at Little Fish VC had this to say; “We felt very strongly that Daniel and his team are building an essential tool for a generation of post-COVID travellers. We see the potential energy being stored in travel demand as a multi-decade trend. No brainer.
The team has currently closed 4 partnerships with hostels and activity suppliers but is showing no signs of slowing down or stopping. FreeGuides is looking to grow the number of active partnerships to over 20 different organisations in the coming year. Furthermore, the team is looking to launch the Webapp, in order to provide their services to a broader spectrum of potential explorers. The growth of the Sydney based start-up should come as no surprise, as they look to launch globally in 2022.
"FreeGuides presents a great investment proposition as a high growth venture with passionate founders and a globally scalable opportunity. A great proposition for millennials with a passion for amazing content curation of experiences with diverse revenue streams, a game-changer for future travel experiences. Has good traction with great market validation for growth into Asian markets including the Indian subcontinent, East-Asia and the Middle-East for accelerated adoption in a post-Covid landscape." said Malik Irfan, CEO, INQ Innovation Global & Chair of Startups & Innovation, Australia India Business Council (AIBC)
Sean McGinty, Company Director at SP POWER Pty described their work with Daniel and FreeGuides in further detail. “FreeGuides is a brilliant concept, I love the open-source nature of the business, I see it as the ‘Apple’ of guided tours. Daniel and his team are business focussed, impressive, passionate, and are starting up what I believe will be a worldwide success.”
The question of why people get involved in FreeGuides was explained by Adelle Howse, Interim Executive/NED. Why join FreeGuides? “Because I love adventure … for anyone who has a phone and wants to explore… FreeGuides easily allows you to discover new adventures in your own city or to discover what is of interest to you in a new location – conveniently at a time you choose – creating a new community of guides and explorers.”
Ultimately FreeGuides as a success story is largely due to the multitude of people that have been involved with the start-up since its inception. “Thank you to everyone that has believed in us thus far and all the new investors that have joined our journey. We were born in Sydney, our first round of investment allowed us to grow across Australia, and we’re excited to launch globally in the future due to this current round of investment,” said Founder and CEO Daniel Wasilewsky.