Nowadays, many people believe that there is so much content and there is no need for anymore. Websites, blogs, companies, podcasts provide an extremely deep level of information but is this true for every case? Konstantinos Hatoupis and Adam Petritsis take us through their startup journey and narrate how a trip in some hidden corner of Greece made them realize that there are plenty places yet to be discovered!
How did Yallou start and how did you come up with this specific idea?
It was about 3 years ago when we were travelling to the mountainous villages in Corinthia, in Greece and we were amazed by the beauty of these places. Immediately we wondered why we didn’t know about this area before and we looked for a platform that would give to the travellers detailed information their journey. We knew that there are similar things about the touristic places, like Mykonos or Santorini but we didn’t find anything about the beautiful areas lying away from bright lights and tourism campaigns. So, we thought we should build one! We imagined immediately a platform where the travellers can explore areas and destinations, even the more remote ones, look for local products, activities, accommodation and companies of their interest, and find something that otherwise they would have missed! Our ambition is that history, destinations, local products, experiences, accommodation, sightseeing, and food will be gathered by Yallou! Yallou!
Our new platform, that we have just launched includes around 13.500 destinations, more than 2.600 beaches in Greece, and we keep expanding on even more places. In the future, Yallou, could be integrated with other, already existing, web-based solutions in the tourism industry. An example of that could be an integration with a restaurant booking app that will allow travellers to have the complete experience we dream to offer with Yallou! There are many unique features you cannot find elsewhere. For example, now with the use of tags and categories, we can provide our visitors with the specific information they may look for, like spa hotels in Greece, or the beaches that are suitable for windsurfing, and much more!
Could you please describe us the stages you went through?
We didn’t face too many difficulties when starting the business, but due to the economic problems in Greece, lack of funding and capital controls made our life more difficult, and delayed our planning for fast and steady development. The whole business was basically bootstrapping, while we were trying to balance our lives between our day job and our dream. At the beginning, we were 3 co-founders and now one has left and we brought some more people to develop our product. The problem was that none of us at the beginning knew how to code and this led us to outsource our idea to a professional company. Now, we have changed our approach and we have an in-house developer who has helped us to implement immediately our ideas and evolve our platform.
Did you receive any funding?
We built Yallou using some of our owns funds and it was on our plans to get some more funding. The financial situation, as we mentioned earlier, prevented us from doing this. Also, initially we were incubated by Travelplanet24, and we used their office and got some more exposure to how this industry works. Let’s highlight here that none of us comes from the industry of tourism, which of course had the positives and the negatives! After that, we were hosted by another incubator Athens Startup Business Incubator (Th.E.A.), which is one of the most important initiatives of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) for entrepreneurship promotion. Now, we are on the stage tht we are open to getting some extra funding and follow some more aggressive strategy.
What was your biggest mistake?
Probably that we didn’t have our own developer from the beginning and that covering the whole country with all this information proved to need a lot of more work than we have planned and considered initially.
What are your plans?
As we said we launched our new platform with new features and choices for the visitors. We will keep of course adding more fantastic places and destinations and as you may expect we will also need the assistance of the travellers and visitors, as they can contribute on this platform with their own experiences, photos, and information!
On the back of our mind is also to explore our idea in even more countries! But, we’ll take it step by step!