Solo traveler? You’re not alone. There’s a new company in town that can accompany you on your trips in Miami, with a view towards global expansion.
WeTrek, a Miami-based startup which was founded right before the onset of the pandemic, has developed a platform that acts as an information hub for tourists. The idea is that, through their app, travelers can uncover hidden gems and experience their destination like a local at their own pace.
Last December, WeTrek launched in partnership with the Wynwood Business Improvement District. The app includes audio tours that are triggered by a user’s movement through their device’s GPS. “It’s like having your own personal guide,” said Calex Guimarães, WeTrek’s CEO and co-founder.
Also available on the app are local ‘hacks’ in the form of social media-style stories. Users can flip through short snackable images and videos to discover top tips and tricks about a particular destination. All this content is available in multiple languages. The Miami content is currently provided in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
WeTrek raises seed funding
In-destination travel app WeTrek has just announced a round of seed funding from CVC Corp, Latin America’s largest tour operator. With this funding, WeTrek plans to expand into five other major cities in the U.S. and Latin America.
Guimarães told Refresh Miami that the startup has its sights set on small to mid-sized cities. “These places are ideal because they have a good deal of tourism, but lack the infrastructure of larger cities like London or Paris.”
While the exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, Guimarães explained that CVC Corp is coming in at a minority stake with the option to buy full control of the company in four to five years.
The major advantage of engaging with CVC Corp is its massive consumer base, as the Brazilian company sells upwards of 10 million tickets a year. That’s clearly a good bet for WeTrek, which is hoping to rapidly expand its user base. But it’s a good deal for CVC Corp as well, according to Guimarães, because the travel agency is looking for ways to be able to continue interacting with their clients once they arrive at their destination.
The business model
There are a few different sources of revenue for WeTrek. For one, the startup is given a commission from the third-party tickets it sells through its platform (think guided tours and tourist bus trips). Some tours are free while others require a small payment.
WeTrek signaled that it is also looking at potentially creating some advertising-supported content. The startup is also in talks with some brands to create unique experiences for its users. While details of these potential partnerships are under wraps, Guimarães hinted that they are in discussions with some major players in the adult beverage industry.
Guimarães is an advertising industry veteran, having been an executive at WPP for 10 years. As an avid podcast and audio listener, he was particularly keen to deploy this format for tourist purposes. Guimarães expressed excitement about creating an ecosystem with “creators, local businesses, and travelers all benefiting from the platform.”
For Guimarães, the timing was also ideal to start a Miami tech company. “The growth of Miami’s tech scene has been awesome,” he said. “It’s here to stay,” he said, adding the slight caveat that it is of crucial importance for the city to further develop its education sector and talent pipeline. The 12-person company is doubling down on Miami and has started hiring for a variety of new roles, including social media strategist.
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