Creating a Dating App for Travelers & Digital Nomads | Taige Zhang | Fairytrail | ENTREPRENEUR


hello world good morning this is the
founders and innovators morning show I’m Joia and today I’m so excited to be
here with Taige who has one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard and a
really fascinating company to go along with it he is the founder of Fairytrail
which is a company that serves digital nomads and I know now here in the 21st
century so many of us in the entrepreneurial community it’s one of
the great things about being an entrepreneur today is this ability to
travel more and more so I’m really excited to talk with you tiger
here about the trends you’re seeing in travel in this industry and all about
your fairy trail company so tell us even a little bit how you got this idea tell
us what fairy trail is all about and how it started for you awesome cool yeah
thanks so much for having me here first of all and yeah a little bit about how I
got started so just a bit of a background so I’ve worked in five
different countries I’ve worked in China the US Germany the UK Canada so I’ve
really come to appreciate all of the different cultures and the different
types of people around the world it’s almost like the more you experience the
more you realize there is so much more to experience so with that kind of
mindset I came back to the US was working for a company that required me
to travel a lot and being single I started using dating apps and I realized
actually a lot of them don’t really work if you’re on the road a lot because if
I’m out of the city in a week then there’s no way I can actually go on a
date with someone so I realized more and more people are like me who travel a lot
who can be in different cities if they want to be and I thought well why don’t
we create a dating app for people who are remote workers who are digital
nomads who are frequent travelers or just loved travel because currently
there’s so much interest in travel and with the with remote work it also allows
people to work and have a lie hood almost anywhere in your country or
in a different country so for example if you are architect you’re qualified to
work in New York or Chicago or LA if you drive for uber you can drive for
uber in LA or and Seattle Austin so it’s like the world is now just so much more
different from ten even five years ago with work opportunities with with travel
so and also like cultural and behavioral changes so I’m really excited to work on
this new startup idea that’s really geared towards dating for people who are
very mobile I love it I mean and I’m married I’ve been married for a few
years now but I feel even you know these past few years since I’ve been single it
is it’s a whole new dating world out there
so let’s even start I’m curious to hear some of your experiences dating
internationally what are some of these things you’ve learned about different
cultures as you’ve been traveling well so I so the thing is even though this
app allows you to date internationally most of what’s been happening is still
so I wouldn’t say because people don’t want to travel seven hours to go on a
date people would rather spend about three three hours maybe maximum so
that’s one thing I’ve noticed it doesn’t have to be super international you don’t
have to date somewhere someone from Russia or from Philippines like super
far away they can even be someone from Seattle or in my case I was going I I
matched with someone and she was in Arizona so that’s only about an hour and
a half flying time so so that was really cool and for me it’s like even if you’re
in a different state it’s almost a different culture because you can be
from the south part of the US and that’s a different culture from you know like a
different way of life and different views of the world and it’s really
fascinating because I think when you date someone it’s
most like you know having like being really close like having a very close
friend and then you realize wow there’s so different views of the world and like
culture value and values that you’re not really from your point of view you’re
not really seeing and I found out really fascinating to me people from yeah from
different places it doesn’t even have to be international but luckily I have also
dated people from other countries too and it’s it’s it’s very similar to
dating someone from a different city in your own country but amplified can you
tell us a story what’s one of those interesting things
that’s happened with this kind of cultural divide on that first date I
think so for example when I was in someone so dating in North America when
you go on a road trip generally what happens is people love to to to actually
go to restaurants all the time it’s really funny that it’s like they have
this idea of vacation and generally they love to just always go to restaurants
and eat out on that road trip but I also realized so in Europe when you go on a
road trip with someone they tend to actually at least in the Eastern more
Eastern Europe so I was in Berlin so it’s more Eastern European culture work
for road trips we would actually love to make a picnic we would love to go to
grocery stores beforehand and I personally love going to grocery stores
in different cities and different countries because I really love to see
what is alike being a local there so I really enjoyed that apart so when I was
dating someone in Berlin a lot of times when we went on road trips it was very
fun in that we we packed our own food we would be able to eat anytime we got
hungry instead of trying to you like Yelp and find a really good restaurant
and like to have a stress so we can just you know start eating so that was like
one thing I know it’s just like a cultural difference it’s kind of
interesting awesome so take us now into the life of building
a startup because I hear you know you got this idea of you know here’s a
problem in the market there’s this new market of digital nomads people who are
traveling more and wanting to date how do you how does your story go of taking
this idea and actually turning it into a company so my background is in product
management and any time I have an idea I want to make sure that I’m not crazy
first I want to make sure that this makes sense when I build products in in
companies I always do a lot of validation so it means doing a lot of
interviews talking with people it also means doing quick things in terms of
validation so I would run an AdWords campaign to see if people were
interested in this kind of crazy idea I would do polls on Facebook I would so
for example one of the things I did was I ran a poll in various Facebook groups
that were travel centric and I said how many of you would date someone outside
of your city and what was surprising was that number would be as high as 80% oh
wow yeah so about 80 sometimes up to 80% of
people said yes in one group which was really interesting it was a woman’s only
travel group so I wanted to also get a sense from that perspective because
potentially women might have more safety concerns right so I ran the boat there
too and we found that it was about 25 percent said yes I would be open to
travelling for a first date which is kind of what we’re asking people do do
and we’re saying are you willing to travel for a first date so that was
really good but then what was astounding was 50 percent said no but if I were
already going there I would be open to meetings up for a date so that so if you
add those two together that would be about 75% today
yes I would be open to meeting someone in different city for a date which is
basically what our product is still since the mission should initially and
would you actually the first step in terms of traveling so tired what percentage of people are willing to
go on a first date with someone outside of the city and then also get into a
relationship that way so that that was very promising and with that I went
ahead and start and I said well we’ve done as much research as we can we have
to basically put the product out there yeah so we actually actually put the
product out there for people to try it out and see what happens now so where
are you at now do you have users yes so we we got the product out about two
weeks ago it’s we have users there’s there’s a lot of learnings along the way
we’re making adjustments in the app but so far people love the concept and its
really growing quickly and so the beauty of this is we don’t need to launch city
by city like uber or tinder they had to launch city by city we are international
marketplace so we we can just launch globally so it makes it very exciting
and people are willing to travel actually it’s not a negative that you
have to travel it’s actually people want to travel so we’re we’re in a very good
position right now and we’re starting to get more and more press attention
there’s a lot of travel journalists who want to try it out so we’re trying to
set them up try to get them on board to write articles so it’s a lot of exciting
things happening right now I’m curious what are some of the things you’ve
learned even at this really early stage well one of the biggest things we had to
change was initially we wanted people to pay a deposit before um before allowing
the people to talk so so what Fairytrail does is we allow you to match with
someone and then match on a group adventure so it’s super safe you’re not
meeting this person one-on-one you’re actually meeting the person on a group
trip these are two three day trips provided by Airbnb or viator so there’s
a professional you’re in a group of five to 25 people
super safe and really fun and hassle-free so you don’t even have to
plan your dates you just show up have a great time and get to know someone you
already met over video chat and kind of like so one of the crazy things we found
was that actually people weren’t as keen on the experiences because I thought
people loved travel so if you were able to match up with someone you kind of
liked then maybe you would be able to just pay a deposit and we wanted to
create sincerity and we wanted to have people to show that’s and they’re
actually going to travel so that was an initial version of the app and we
realized okay people actually people did pay deposits but it was creating a lot
of friction actually people really care about the other person a lot more than
the trip so that was a key insight and we’re like okay how can we make it
easier for people to video chat as soon as possible so that’s kind of how we
change the app and so far people love it now they love that like instant ability
to start getting value right away because you’re able to react with
someone they otherwise would never be able to meet that’s amazing so we’re
almost out of time but tell people if they’re interested to find out more how
can they find you yeah so if you’re interested just search for Fairytrail
in the App Store or Google Play Store or on Google and we’ll show up in the
search results and you can try out the app let us know your feedback it’s still
really early stages and we really care about you as a user because I’m I’ve
been there and I I’m still using the app myself just to make sure that this is
exactly what people want so if you have any feedback I would love to hear and we
can make a really great product together I love that I love even the spirit of
that of really bringing the consumers and the customers on board and getting
them to help build what Fairytrail will be so just and by telling us the story
of how did you come up with this name fairy trail
I thought really hard and I wanted to convey the sense of
and fun and hiking and a group group travel and I also wanted to convey the
sense that it’s it’s it’s to do with dating and romance
so fairy trail sounds like fairy tale and it also like kind of conveys has
connotations of hiking and adventure so for me it made a lot of sense and people
started loving the idea versus the other ideas I had for the for the app sorry
other names I had for that it’s great well thank you so much for being here
I’m definitely gonna go recommend it to my friends who are travelers so they can
you know start hopping on board and helping you build out a really great
product awesome thanks so much for having me
here thank you bye everybody hope you have a wonderful
rest of your day thanks for joining us today please don’t
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