Expert DOJO cohort company, Elude, a personalized and hassle-free travel booking app, has already raised $1.25M of their $1.5M in seed round from notable investors such as Mucker Capital, Unicorn Venture Partners, Upfront Scout Fund, Startup-O, Grayson Capital, Pelican Ventures as well as additional angel investors.
Now, they only have $250K left to raise to close this round.
For those of you that do not know, Elude started because the founders; Alex Simon & Frankie Scerbo lived a spontaneous lifestyle and wanted a booking tool to allow them to search travel options based on their budget.
Similarly, Frankie ran category management & a marketing dept. for a Japanese auto-parts manufacturer that gave him the ability to see and travel the world.
With their passion for travel and initial beta that proved demand – Alex & Frankie left their careers to change the way people think about travel.
We spoke with Alex about the funding experience. Here you have it – 7 questions answered about the challenges they faced during this round as well as the advice they learned along the way.
What was the fundraising experience like during Covid and what were the challenges you faced? How did you overcome them?
Fundraising to begin with is not an easy task. One of the main challenges we faced while going out for funding during COVID was trying to figure out what the travel landscape will look like later this year and next.
We’re extremely happy to have industry experts among our current investors (founding team members at Priceline, Trip, Airbnb etc.) who have helped us navigate the path and direction to come out stronger and capitalize on this opportunity.
Did you face any business-development challenges during Covid that you did not face before? How did you overcome them?
COVID-19 has certainly restructured our lives and what it means to travel. With people being indoors for such a length of time, we’re already seeing a pent-up demand to go out and see new places. Since this will continue into 2021, it will cause a flood of millennials who are looking to see the world safely.
Luckily- we did not launch prior to COVID and did not experience any slow down or halt to our business. We used this time to completely overhaul our brand and user experience so once travel comes back and the world is ready- we’ll be positioned as a trustworthy source.
We also know that as a direct effect of COVID, people will continue to look for budget trips that may be closer (domestically) to get a change of scenery. We look forward to capitalizing on this demand and accelerate our growth!
Lastly, we’ve partnered with specific companies focused on tracking health restrictions globally in order to arm our users and community with information to travel safe & smart.
How challenging is it to co-found a company and run it with another founder? How do you settle disagreements?
If there is mutual respect, understanding and a deep passion within both founders, it shouldn’t be difficult to run a company together. Frankie and I balance one another because our strengths are in different areas of the business. Frankie runs with anything related to product, development and marketing while I cover all areas of the business, funding and partners.
We’ve known each other for 8+ years and lean on one other for areas where we might need support.
As for an example, we learned early on in our development that trusting the other person is crucial. If I questioned a decision Frankie made on the creative side or he questioned me on a new investor, we would quickly realize that it was ultimately the right decision.
It’s important that you respect the strengths of your partner and draw a line on what each of your roles entail.
What is your best business-development advice you can give other founders?
The best business development advice would be to attract the right team. We’ve been extremely diligent about bringing on the right partners (as investors, advisors, early employees etc.) and would say that’s been the most rewarding.
Finding others who not only share similar passions, but also share the overall vision of creating something that will change the way people think is a must.
In our case, it’s certainly taken some time, but well worth the wait!
What is your best fundraising advice you can give other founders?
Regarding fundraising- my best advice to other founders is to create a process and stick to it. The main goal of fundraising should always be to get back to building and scaling the business. Try to focus your energy on the funds or angels that are actually interested and look to close within 6-8 weeks.
What keeps you motivated to push forward and not let go even in the hardest times?
Booking travel hasn’t changed in over 10+ years and is ripe for disruption.
We’ve been able to bring on incredible team members & advisors that not only understand the travel space, but have assisted with executing some of the most notable companies in the world.
In travel- we are currently at an inflection point where the brands who’ve existed for over a decade continue to be untrusted, old and extremely antiquated. We’re excited to change the perception of travel and introduce a new way to see the world.
That’s what keeps us going!
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