Tomáš Zapletal of Worldee tells us how the platform helps travellers to share, visualize and preserve their travel experiences, get inspired and connect with other travellers.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tomáš Zapletal: Thanks for asking. I am an eternal optimist, so I see the situation positively. There will be enough vaccines this year, and life will return to relative normal in the second half of the year. The year that the pandemic began was crucial for our startup, as we managed to raise for the first time. So I didn’t mind that there was basically nothing to do besides working – I was at work all the time. Working for Worldee has engulfed me, so when you go to work at 8 AM and return at 8 PM, you hardly notice that a pandemic is taking place.
Back to the question – our whole family and I have already gone through Covid, and fortunately, nothing happened to anyone. So we’re fine.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Worldee.
Tomáš Zapletal: My career as a “traditional” entrepreneur began at the age of 16 when I started selling various things on the Internet. At the age of 20, I founded the first big business, SportDrive.cz. I own the company to this day and still operates under different management. We do experiences for people – we rent them Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Ford Mustang for adventure rides. From 10 to 60 minutes. I didn’t get into the startup environment until about a year and a half ago when I launched Worldee. At that time, I was alone for everything, an external agency worked on Worldee, and I devoted myself to SportDrive.cz and other businesses. The moment I realized that in order for Worldee to become a world project, I had to devote 100% of my time to it, I did not hesitate and went for it. Now I enjoy my work in a way I’ve never enjoyed before.
How does Worldee innovate?
Tomáš Zapletal: We build the best planner and the best travel diary in the world. Our goal is to build the largest database of travel itineraries so that every traveller can be inspired for the next trip. Worldee users can use our platform in all phases of travel, from inspiration, through planning, to preserving the experience. Our biggest advantage is the complexity of our tool.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Tomáš Zapletal: We are at the stage of building a product and talking to our early adopters. In addition, our project is not yet in the monetization phase. Fortunately, the pandemic did not affect us significantly.
In the future, of course, we need the travel to return to its original level. Currently, travellers who are frustrated do not pay attention to travel apps.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Tomáš Zapletal: I think it is important to make thoughtful decisions. Such a serious matter as the current pandemic is forcing companies to make hasty decisions. Yes, some decisions should be made quickly, but certainly not by a hasty but well-thought-out decision, based on the “hardest facts of the present reality.”
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tomáš Zapletal: There are apps on the market that solve the same things as we do. However, there is not yet such a comprehensive application on the market that would deal with all 3 phases of travel. This is our biggest advantage.
Applications of a similar type have historically always had a problem with monetization and user retention. Another very important part for us will be quality content. We have a plan to solve all these problems and be the first application of this type to succeed with significant success.
Your final thoughts?
Tomáš Zapletal: A pandemic is a serious matter, but fighting for survival is definitely worth it. Whoever succeeds will start in a cleansed market alongside the survivors, and everyone will have the same chances.