Technology: Tastemakers raises $1.4M to sell Africa experiences to the world - - PressFrom - US

TechnologyTastemakers raises $1.4M to sell Africa experiences to the world

16:40  23 august  2019
16:40  23 august  2019 Source:

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Tastemakers Africa is a NYC-based travel experiences marketplace connecting travelers to creative entrepreneurs in African cities. Currently live in Accra, Cape Town, and Johannesburg, we’ve booked 2,000 experiences for 400+ travelers and have doubled our GMV every month since December 2018.

New York based startup Tastemakers has raised a $1.4 million seed-round—led by Precursor Ventures—for its business that connects Africa adventures to global consumers.

Tastemakers' platform curates, prices, and lists African travel and cultural experiences—from paragliding tours to wine-tasting to concerts.

The startup generates revenues by taking a 20% commission on each transaction. Community managers in Africa screen and select experiences that go up on the site .

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Jobs at Tastemakers Africa . List, Discover, and Book Epic Experiences in African Cities. TSTMKRS is an online experiences marketplace disrupting what the world thinks about Africa one trip at a time. We connect travelers who want to go beyond safaris to local insiders in African cities.

Overview. Seed Round - Tastemakers Africa . Organization Name. Amount of money raised in Funding Round. Valuation of a Company prior to a Funding Round. The layout for this profile is not customizable.

Tastemakers will use the investment to grow the number of experiences offered from 200 to 10,000 and build out machine learning capabilities to better match suppliers, experiences, and clients—CEO and founder Cherae Robinson told TechCrunch.

She likened the site to an Airbnb for commoditizing and connecting people to Africa travel experiences at scale.

On the startup's addressable market, Robinson references a segment of culture curious travelers: people who are travelling to experience things such foreign art, food, music, or dance workshops.

"We looked at who's doing these kinds of tours and and the number of people booking...and we found that globally, based on triangulating that, there are about 700 million people globally booking culture forward experiences," said Robinson.

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Tastemakers Africa and AFROPUNK have joined forces to help you get more connected to the 2019 festival host cities than ever before. These limited edition experiences are led by carefully selected members of the African and Caribbean diasporas in each city, giving you insight and context into

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For different reasons—from negative stereotypes or the difficulty of identifying tourist options in Africa—most of these excursions are occurring in other parts of the world, according to Robinson.

She sees Tastemakers' value proposition as the site that can bring a greater percentage of these culture travelers to Africa.

On revenue potential, Robinson is pretty up front on numbers and goals. "If we can capture 1% of that [700 million] market in the next five years that's $2.2 billion generated on our platform," she said, noting an average booking cost of $308. She believes Tastemakers could hit those figures by 2025—and by applying their 20 percent commission—reach income of $434 million.

Tastemakers raises $1.4M to sell Africa experiences to the world© Provided by Oath Inc. Tastemakers Africa Ghana III

Precursor Ventures Managing Partner Charles Hudson invested in Tastemakers for its potential as an early entrant in an off the grid travel market attracting more curiosity.

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Tastemakers Africa - List, Discover, and Book Epic Experiences in African Cities - View company Tastemakers Africa is an online marketplace where you can list, discover, and book epic things to do in Strong emerging markets, partnerships, comms and media background. Worked at CDC, World

"I just had a sense that Africa was having a moment, and whether its Black Panther or more startups that have a foot in Africa, that there were more people interested in going to Africa," he told TechCrunch.

"And it's not like going to New York City...You have providers that are hard to find and hard to book..that are not super well marketed. If you can become an aggregator and curator of those, you could effectively become the largest source of lead generation," Hudson said.

Tastemakers is looking at  ancillary partnership and revenue share opportunities. It uses Stripe and WorldRemit to process mobile payments for transactions on the site and has done promotional partnerships with Uber Africa. The startup also counts Kempinski Hotels as its biggest lodging partner.

Tastemakers also offers advisory services to sellers on the site, to better determine price-points and on marketing their travel experiences more effectively online.

CEO Cherae Robinson is clear about the company's for-profit status, but sees upside for Africa beyond generating business from tourism. "I strategically don't brand Tastemakers as a social impact startup...but we're driving benefits of the sharing economy to diverse populations both in Africa and in underrepresented communities in the technology and tourism sectors," she said.

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