Interview with Mark Karimov, Co-Founder & CEO of Trevolta

Interview with Mark Karimov, Co-Founder & CEO of Trevolta

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We are delighted to welcome CEO & Co-Founder of Trevolta; a global crowd-funded travels website. Trevolta enables travellers to submit their extraordinary ideas for expeditions in order to raise funds for it. We were so excited about this fantastic idea for budding travellers and look forward to speaking with Mark to find out more.

Firstly, what a fabulous and innovative idea! How did you come up with it?

=) thanks. I was following a couple of travellers for a long time, who at some point in time started securing sponsorships for their travels in return for brand awareness and marketing opportunities. They would stick the sponsors logos on their cars and feature them on videos, etc. Those travellers have a great following base, so it’s a win-win relationship. At the same time a lot of travellers are looking for sponsorships but can’t get any because they have no blogs or following base, so sponsors can’t really benefit from sponsoring them. That’s how we came up with an idea to connect travellers with sponsors. We wrapped it up in crowd-funding model and kicked-off with a great viral campaign,

Can you briefly explain how crowd-funding travel on Trevolta works?

Anyone can create a trip on our website seeking for funds. After the trip is created it goes for review to our team, where we will either approve the trip to become public, or ask for more information. The traveller need to plan his trip properly, present it properly and explain his goals, reason for the trip, where the value for others are, etc. Only unique and exciting trips have a fair chance to raise funds.

What sets you apart from competitors such as the likes of Kickstarter and indiegogo?

First of all we’re taking a specific niche: travels. But most importantly, we the bring sponsors element to crowd-funding. Sponsorships is such a massive playground, we believe that connecting great travellers with great brands can create an immense powerful results for both sides, and we’re working hard to make our sponsorship element more advanced and unique. We have been approached by some amazing brands that want to get involved, and we’re working with them closely at the moment to run some amazing campaigns with our travellers. 2014 is going to be a very exciting year for Trevolta.

What is the most adventurous project you have seen on your website?

Since we launched fully featured website only a week ago, a lot of trips are still in the making. But the most exciting so far is the “New York to Patagonia… by Ambulance” trip and “Argentina to Alaska in a Fiat 600″. They are both featured on our main page – they have attracted some sponsors, currently on the road, writing about their experience on blogs and Facebook. The guys from Argentina have been featured in numerous newspapers, blogs, TV shows, etc. Great opportunity for sponsors to benefit from this kind of attention.

How do sponsors benefit from supporting projects and trips?

When it comes to travels, the possibilities are endless. Starting from simple things such as brand association with the trip on our website, and featuring on social media, the brands’ logo can appear on the traveller’s transport (for example, Fiat 600), or on merchandise they provide to travellers etc. The great thing about sponsorships is that it’s not always about the money. Some companies can give travellers what they produce in return for reviews, tests, etc. For example, airlines can give tickets, hotels can provide accommodation. Cars, equipment, cameras, clothing – you name it, any company can sponsor a trip and suggest their terms and requirements. We are in the making of some interesting campaigns with some exciting brands, where travellers will be able to apply specifically to them in order to get their trip sponsored. With time and a little bit of patience, it will become available. :)

Are there any particular projects that are supported more than others? For example for research purposes?

One word: unique. No one is generally interested in supporting someone’s vacation or a honeymoon, but everyone wants to see what happens to the traveller who goes an extra mile and does something no one else does. Who produces great content (photos, videos, blog posts), who is charismatic and who’s willing to share his experience and provide value to the community and sponsors.

What advice would you give to groups wanting to have their projects sponsored and supported on Trevolta?

Put some effort in it. Plan it properly, record a great video explaining our trip (and if you can’t do it yourself, get someone to help you). A crucial aspect are the rewards you set up, come up with something that people would treasure and enjoy, this would help your trip to get backed much sooner. Quality is very important, especially if you’re looking for sponsorships. If you can’t take photos or shoot quality videos and edit it, it’s time to learn how to do it or get a photographer to join your team. The time and effort you put in your trip tells a lot about your dedication and determination. No sponsor would give money or products to someone who’s not proved himself to be the best man for a job.

Anything else you’d like to say about Trevolta?

I just want to say thanks for everyone who supports us and believes in what we’re doing. If we could, we would erase all the borders and make travels more accessible and affordable to everyone. But this is only the first step, and we believe there is still a lot of innovations that are coming to the travel industry and crowd-funding itself.

We would like to thank Mark for sharing his time with us and wish him the best of luck with Trevolta!


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