We’ve been seeing many flavors of curation media here in Japan recently, including Iemo, focused on interior design, and Mery, focused on women’s interests. Those entities aim to compete with other online media by providing selected information and presenting it with sophisticated design, rather than creating their own content from scratch. We’ve seen popular curation media thrive in the US, and Upworthy was a prime example of that.
Back on February 22, a travel curation media site called Tabilabo was launched. It was started by Yuki Naruse and Shotaro Kushi, both of whom studied in the US and have traveled around the world, and each has experienced starting a business more than once. We spoke to them about how and why they launched Tabilabo.
Naruse: There are many books and media that introduce world culture or show pictures of beautiful scenery from around the world. But on the other hand, when you visit a travel agency or on online reservation site, they have very small amount of information, perhaps just a thin brochure. There is often no connection between motivating people to travel and the place (on a site) where users actually take action. We want to make these two points more seamlessly connected.
There are three categories on the website: “feel the world,” “know the world,” and “travel the world.”
Users can see curated content in the “feel the world” section and Talilabo’s own content in “know the world” section. They are planning to sell travel packages in the “travel the world” section, where they aim to monetize the business.
Kushi: Consider how Uber stands between users and taxi companies, and matches the supply and demand. But the important part is that Uber handles the payment part, and they can expand their business by utilizing a vast amount of payment information. We have not decided yet if we will get a license to run our own travel agency, or if we’ll tie up with other companies – but either way we believe handling users payment on our own is very important for business.
The company will target users ranging from their late teens to early thirties, or digital natives to be more specific. They want to attract not only those who have a great interest in travel, but also those who haven’t travelled much before. I expected to hear they were targetting people earning above a certain salary, but they have a different approach. They’ll try to change the way people decide to go travelling.
600K pageviews 10 days after launch
The user interface of Tabilabo is very similar to that of US-based digital news site Quartz. It implements some promising aspects from other successful cases both inside and outside Japan.
Naruse: Currently we post about two articles a day, but we always have dozens of articles in stock. We believe that the titles of articles are very important to reach as many readers as possible, so we get support from 120 people we called “ambassadors” who choose the best title out of about 50 ideas for articles.
Only 10 days after their February 22 launch, they reached 600,000 pageviews. They hope to eventually reach 100 million monthly pageviews.
The company plans to reach an exit resulting in billions of yen in about two years. They are currently looking at possibilities of fundraise from a few angel investors, so don’t be surprised if we bring you more good news from them in the near future.