04 Sep TURISMOI.COM – DIEGO ARBULU
TURISMOI is a platform for the management and distribution of tours, activities and tourism experiences for suppliers and large tourist platforms. Among its clients are giants like TripAdvisor, Expedia etc. With more than 5,000 tours published it is already a reference for tour companies in Latin America and Spain and for global travelers.
Diego Arbulu, co-founder and CEO of Turismoi shares his experience as a Euro-Latin startup working in both continents.
It all started when Diego and his partner Horacio presented their project, a disruptive model in a very competitive sector such as tourism, at IE’s Venture Day and won one of the awards. This award was a gateway to access to financing and the Spanish market because today their solution is used by more than 300 Spanish companies.
Why are you betting on the European market?
In our case everything was very fast thanks to the prize we received and we have been fully operational for 5 years with the Lima-Madrid connection. All the bureaucratic issues and work visas have been very easy also for this topic and the access to the residence when creating the company has also been very comfortable.
In our plans of continuous expansion,our goals are the distribution of the product tours in a sector B2B at global level and the continuous development of the software for the supplier’s tours in Latinoamérica.
What are the main challenges that startups face when expanding from Europe to Latin America?
Taking the leap from LATAM to Spain was relatively easy, when we did it 5 years ago, because there was a confluence of factors that helped everything fit together.
On the one hand, Spanish investors bet on our company, on the other Spain was and is a world power player in tourism and all of this, without forgetting that our product was very disruptive and we had a very strong base, contributed to the success of this initiative. We also had a track record as entrepreneurs when we previously founded Groupon or Adondevivir,com in Peru and we already knew what it was like to set up a startup.
Although everything has been smooth, I have to say that in this process we have changed and reoriented the business model, we were almost broken twice which has made us go through very difficult times … as you see a challenge solved with much effort and hard work.
Our technical team is based in Peru and the commercial part is located in the field, close to the local reality of each country and connected to all local, regional and global levels.
One of the challenges for any entrepreneur is always financing. In Peru, thanks to the support programs for entrepreneurs, there are non-refundable funds from the government for innovation that have been fundamental for us. In our countries there is a lot of technological talent and the costs are lower, so it is an advantage over the challenge of looking for talent.
Key learnings/recommendations for companies planning to grow internationally
Any startup considering entering a new international market must have a model that works in the country it wants to enter, it is very basic, but it is the key.
I think it is easier to export a model that works and has already been tested in Spain to LATAM than the other way around. The common language and cultural characteristics also favor exchange between our regions.