We all want to create the ultimate travel diary while we’re on holidays, business trips or adventures, but, frankly, who wants to put in the 2 or 3 hours’ work it takes every evening to gather together the bits and pieces from all of your various galleries, social media accounts, maps and locations and organise them all into some kind of coherent whole?
Well, thanks to a start-up from Summertown, Oxford, you can say goodbye to those hours of laborious work and take back those balmy evenings chilling by the pool, or those sun kissed mornings on the beach, hit the trail a little earlier, and make the magic happen on the go.
Esplorio makes recording your trips on the fly easy. The platform integrates with more social platforms than any other travel app, its founders say, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Picasa and Twitter.
The genesis of the idea came when CEO Tim Fernando was in Sri Lanka with his then fiancée, trying to relocate a turtle sanctuary he had photographed on a previous trip. To his embarrassment, he couldn’t find any of his old photos and had to ask for directions. He told himself, in true start-up founder style, that “there had to be a better way”.
He was right, and now he has the app to prove it.
To date Fernando and co-founders Essa Saulat, a digital strategist and marketer who has run marketing campaigns for HSBC, Red Bull and Adidas, and Sean Pham, a CTO with a degree in Computer Science from Oxford University, have raised £300k from angel investors Akash Gupta, Elliot Mackenzie, and the Start-up Funding Club, run by entrepreneur and long-time angel investor Stephen Page, as well as a number of grants, the biggest being from the European Space Agency Business Incubator.
Esplorio has the ability to automatically check travellers into the different locations they visit, using smartphone or tablet devices’ GPS, and use photos taken and stored on these devices to create a digital travel journal – all the user has to do is input a start and end date for the period of travel they wish to capture.
The data can be enriched by giving Esplorio access to social media channels so it can import content from the likes of Facebook, Flickr and Tripit.
The founders say that although they are in competition with big budget apps like Trip Advisor, who have their own timeline feature, fire.fly and Backtracker, Esplorio has several unique advantages, making it the most effective choice for travellers.
Because Esplorio can do most of its work offline, it puts minimal strain on a device’s battery, less than any of its close competitors. This also negates the need for users to purchase expensive data roaming plans, making it a better option financially. Digitally checking-in to different places, for example, is done automatically.
Esplorio also keeps things private, or allows you to share with friends and family only – or make your journey public – but only when you say so. It has more integrations with different social media accounts than any other app and contains unique features, like the ability to create and send digital postcards from anywhere along the route.
The team have yet to decide on a monetisation strategy but estimate the market size to match the 500m people worldwide who share travel content via social media whilst abroad, according to data from the European Travel Commission 2013, and UN World Tourism Organisation Highlights 2014.
The team is now international too, with staff working from Thailand, Slovakia, Wales, London and Oxford, and, having attracted a flurry of publicity when the first version of the app was released, from the likes of Tech Crunch, the Guardian, and Wired, and Mashable, who have recommended the app as one of the “Top 7 Apps For The Summer”, the team have set their sights on introducing predictive algorithms to “use people’s travel information to recommend trips in the future”, says Saulat.
“Right now in the travel market there is a paradox of choice”, he added, “there are so many choices”. Potential tie-ups with major travel providers have been mooted as a potential revenue generator..
So whether it’s road, rail, on foot, or by air, travellers, say Esplorio’s founders, can at least rely on one thing – a digital check in service that records their every move and creates easily shareable travel diaries, like a recent trip the founders’ made from Oxford to Italy, or this incredible charity rally from Sweden to Mongolia, without draining your device’s battery, and without keeping you from joining the party when you finally reach your destination.
Or perhaps, like the gnarliest travellers, you just keep moving on. Either way, Esplorio your quiet companion that never switches off, wants to come with you, and inspire others to follow in your footsteps.
You can download Esplorio from the app store by clicking this link