We had the good fortune of connecting with Vanessa Karel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vanessa, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I couldn’t find a service that did what my business does: Helping women travel safer. I needed a solution to this problem so this began out of a personal need, it wasn’t an overnight decision, I consider this more of a gradual process in which I began with a problem, looked for a solution: couldn’t find it and then looked further to find out if I was alone in having this problem and most importantly if people would pay for a solution.
The discovery wasn’t rocket science, I knew most women are worried about their safety regardless of traveling or not. However, I began a research process before going all in about this, in which I interviewed over 500 frequent female travelers and 90% of them kept responding the same “I am worried about how to navigate destinations safely” from the rest of women who aren’t travelers yet, a big part of their reasoning was their lack of “safety” confidence and not knowing what they would do if something went wrong. Once I validated that there was a market opportunity, I sent applications to accelerator programs around the world and got accepted in two, one of them coming in on the top 50 applicants from over 500 applications. The program helped me organize my ideas and prepared me to move forward with proper tools.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We help women travel the world with fewer risks by connecting them to Greeters they can book to navigate destinations with a local expert. Travelers can choose where the Greeter meets them, what they want to do or see in that place, the language they want them to speak and the length of time they want the service for. Our marketplace is focused on safety for women by women, we verify each and every user that comes through us through a combination of high-end technology currently utilized by some of the most known tech-enabled companies and humans. We know that there isn’t a company that can ensure someone has good intentions, but at least we take the time to get to know who these people are, who our travelers are instead of them connecting with strangers from social media without any vetting process in place. Simultaneously our business empowers women to put their spending power into women’s hands as they navigate the world. This is a win-win worldwide.
We are very excited to be disrupting travel, women’s mobility, sustainable tourism and freedom through our initiative. Our startup has quickly attracted interest of women in over 87 countries to date, we know that we have the power to continue our expansion so we have begun our fundraising efforts, so we can invest in proper technology, hiring more people on our team and implementing much needed features our users want.
My superpower is being restless in everything I set my mind to. I love seeing an idea come to life and I am extremely passionate, I couldn’t imagine spending my time doing anything else. Recently my younger sister took her very first solo trip and she was able to book one of our Greeters, I was so happy to know that she would have someone reliable for her, someone she could count on and somehow have me there through the services I designed. I am proud of what we have accomplished so far and everyday more excited to see Greether become the travel leader for women.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My life partner has been essential in this process! You really do need a good emotional support system, because being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. There are hard days when you need someone to tell you “it’s okay, keep going, you got this!”
Monica Guerra First horizontal photo. Monica Guerra photo with group of women The rest of photos belong to Greether.