Youli Travel (You live to Travel) is a travel management solution. So, if you’re organising a gathering, such as a retreat in Bali, with people coming from all over the world with different itineraries (but a shared schedule) it enables you to manage schedules and payment, as well as itineraries, all in one place.
It’s the brainchild of Jennifer Fein, who came up with the idea thanks to her ‘amateur’ status of being fabulous at co-ordinating group travel.
“I’m a very organised person. If I say I’m going to Japan, suddenly I’ll have people coming with me and wanting me to keep track of travel plans. So, as a friend, I thought it was fun to organise spread sheets and email chains. Then, I realised these days our tribes are global and travel is cheap but what’s hard is co ordinating everybody into one place,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer told #SheHacksNews the main challenge in the beginning was simply expressing what Youli Travel is all about. She describes herself as a ‘technology person’ so, at its core, the business is a platform.
“But the challenge was targeting a particular niche. That’s been my biggest business challenge. I did a pilot with a corporation and while it was successful, it wasn’t great as an early entrant. So now I’ve started to focus on the retreat market. But it took me a while to make that decision. People said, ‘Go after universities and conference organisers.’ So, I’ve spoken to a lot of different sectors.”
The other challenge for Jennifer was finding the right people to build the business. Luckily, Jennifer participated in Girl Geek Academy’s She Hacks event where she met her tech co-founder Bron Thulke.
“Bron was part of the winning team for She Hacks but her team decided not to pursue their business. We’d become friends over the weekend and when I realised she wasn’t getting any traction, I said, ‘Well, while you’re waiting, you can join me!’ Jennifer said.
“She Hacks was so great, and not a typical hackathon which involves mostly men. Most Hackathons welcome women, it’s just that many don’t apply because women in tech are so isolated. But Sarah Moran, from Girl Geek has created an environment where it’s fun and there are even cupcakes! So they make women feel like they belong and that’s when the magic happens.”
What advice do you have for women in startups?
“Make sure you have a strong support network. I was coaching a young woman recently and telling her that while things have changed a lot for women in tech for the better, you shouldn’t believe the hype that there’s no advantage in being a woman – one major advantage is you can reach out for help, which is something a lot of men don’t do.”
“It’s okay to say, ‘I can’t do this without your help.’ So many people need help and it’s fine to reach out and ask for assistance, introductions and most people are willing to help. Just let them know you appreciate their help.”