Our Investment in TrovaTrip and the Future of the Creator Economy

Much has been made of the creator economy and the potential for the more than 50 million creators building online communities to turn their passions, interests, and ability to connect with audiences into their principal source of income. Creators have found varying levels of success generating income through brand sponsorships, paid ads, patronage models, selling NFTs, and even launching their own products. We believe that most creators will rely on a number of these and other sources of income to build their businesses and that the most compelling monetization opportunities are those aligned with creators’ personal brands and that deepen engagement with their audiences. Enter TrovaTrip.

TrovaTrip enables creators to plan and host trips with members of their community around shared interests. Photographers can lead trips to Iceland, Morocco, and Egypt. Fitness influencers can lead trips to Bali, Thailand, and Tulum. Chefs can lead food tours to Italy, Vietnam, and Japan. TrovaTrip’s managed marketplace allows creators to host more than 150 unique experiences in more than 45 countries. The company partners with the best tour operators around the globe, who work with TrovaTrip’s creators to design itineraries and ensure everything goes off without a hitch during the trip.

TrovaTrip - Creator Economy
TrovaTrip enables the creators of the creator economy to plan and host trips with members of their community. Here, Andrew Keenan-Bolger takes a group to Costa Rica to enjoy hiking, sightseeing, wildlife adventures, incredible food, and highly Instagrammable moments.

There are four things we love about the TrovaTrip model and why we are excited to partner with Nick, Lauren, Brandon, and the rest of the TrovaTrip team. First, TrovaTrip enables creators to generate a substantial portion of their income leading trips while deepening engagement and relationships with their audience around their shared interests. Real-life experiences create connections within digital communities that social media posts and online engagement simply can’t match. Community members on TrovaTrips get more personal interactions with the hosts they’ve grown to know and love through digital channels, but they also build lifelong friendships with other members of the community on the trip. And the opportunity for creators to earn tens of thousands of dollars per year (and more) leading trips with their communities is icing on the cake.

Second, TrovaTrip turns the consumer travel business model on its head (in a good way). One of the most challenging elements of building and scaling a consumer travel business is the cost to acquire (and re-acquire) the travel customer. At TrovaTrip, potential trip hosts start the trip planning process by surveying their audiences to gauge interest in destinations and activities. Response data is crucial for the host to design a great trip and helps build organic demand. Hosts driving their own traveler demand enables TrovaTrip to invest dollars that would otherwise be spent on customer acquisition toward host and traveler experience.

Third, TrovaTrip is a three-sided marketplace that delivers meaningful value to more than just its constituents — a challenging feat. We’ve talked about TrovaTrip’s value to hosts and travelers, but TrovaTrip has also become an invaluable partner to the local operators who partner with trip hosts to deliver a great on-the-ground experience to travelers. From lodging to transportation to food to local experiences, local operators ensure the trip goes off without a hitch for the host and travelers. The hand-picked operators participating in the TrovaTrip marketplace can grow their business as TrovaTrip scales.

Finally, the TrovaTrip team has shown incredible grit and tenacity in navigating the pandemic. TrovaTrips are marketed and often sold-out months ahead of the travel dates. One can only imagine the strain this put on the team, having to keep hosts, travelers, and operators happy as confirmed trips were moved, rescheduled, canceled, or otherwise impacted by health issues or travel restrictions. Our experience is that teams who can survive and thrive navigating through choppy waters like these have the intestinal fortitude to go the distance and build multi-decade businesses.

Please join us in welcoming TrovaTrip to the Madrona family! And if you are a creator who wants to start building a business on TrovaTrip, reach out, and we’ll connect you with the team.

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