How many times have you read the story of an entrepreneur starting up a company that you would least expect them to? If this last story wasn't enough, here's another one -
Burufly, a travel discovery portal for South East Asia, which helps users find interesting travel destinations, along with flight and accommodation information. It is founded by employee number 001 of AdMax, Peter Goldsworthy, (which got acquired in 2011 by Komli Media), and he left the company as the managing director for Indonesia and Malaysia.
We caught up with Peter to know more about Burufly and his journey as a startup leader that eventually led him to starting up.
Unlikely, yet likely
Given his ad-network background, Peter isn't someone you'd expect to start up a travel information portal. While Peter agrees with this, he also shared that there is a commonality between the two businesses; content. He says, "While I didn't have much idea about travel as a vertical while starting Burufly, content is something that I understood very well as it is such an integral part of advertising. That was essentially the problem in travel as well. Content about places to visit in Indonesia was very fragmented; you'd find it across platforms like Twitter or Instagram or some blogs. It was really difficult to find what you're looking for. The aim was to bring all this information to one central platform, where users can upload photos and content about places to visit."
Burufly lays out an array of photos, which when clicked pops up to provide information about the place you want to visit. From the pop up, you can choose to engage on the platform itself by liking and commenting about the place or even book tickets and hotel rooms in the place you're planning to visit.
Peter's team at Burufly consists of an editorial and a photography team. While they produce and curate content, their job is to build a relationship with the travelling community, who would generate the content. He says, "Getting your team to go to various parts of the country taking photos and writing about the place isn't really scalable. The in house team sets the standard for the content that goes up. That's essentially what Burufly is - a curated portal for places to visit."
Peter also shared that Burufly is also working towards building an automated process for curating content.
An interesting revenue model
The revenue models of businesses like Burufly is a transaction commission for a hotel booking or a flight ticket. However, borrowing from his experience in the ad-network world, Peter has an interesting revenue model. He says, "I think the transaction model is sustainable at scale. At our scale, I believe that we our userbase will be of interest to many brands. We run brand campaigns and we just did our first one last month."
When asked if this was a difficult business model to execute, Peter said, "Not really. I think if you can convey to a brand why users come to your platform and what they enjoy doing there, the brand figures it out how it wants to engage with you. I've experienced this with AdMax; I mean, no one ever told us that Instagram could be used for marketing through a photo contest. Brands will figure it out. You need to convey why and how your platform is used."
A pragmatic entrepreneur
While a lot of people who start up talk about the lifestyle of being an entrepreneur, Peter is very clear of why he wants to be an entrepreneur - "I think being an entrepreneur you work a lot harder than what you would otherwise. Somewhere during my time at AdMax, I made a conscious decision that I wanted to get into entrepreneurship only if it is going to become substantial in the coming years."
Aligned with this thought, he also chose to go the B2C route rather than B2B. He says, "I think B2C is a lot more rewarding. Every day we get so many emails from our customers, thanking us for the work that we're doing. I love that. And I always wanted to do something different. I love a challenge." So much so, he likes what he calls, "organized" fighting (martial arts, boxing etc) and he gets his company to do it every Monday and Friday.
The content on Burufly is currently restricted to Indonesia and they will be looking to expand to other South East Asian geographies in the coming months. Burufly has raised a seed round from Ardent Capital and they are looking to raise a Series A round in the near future.
If you're planning a trip to Indonesia, you should give Burufly a shot.