Friday, December 21, 2012
The End of the World (and of Arribaa)
I know that Arribaa is closing down shop and all – but to make such a fanfair about it being the “end of the world” today on 21 December 2012? Awwww, you flatter us!
Our vision has always been to enable remarkable travel experiences by connecting adventurous travelers directly to passionate locals offering unique experiences.
We thought (and still think) that traveling offers an amazing opportunity to see the world in a different light, and even more so when you get to see the place you visit through the eyes of a local. There was also the altruistic approach of changing the impacts of travel by enabling passionate locals to earn money by sharing their knowledge or passion. We were convinced that we could build a global business that would make travel a catalyst for social change in the world, and there were hundreds of hosts and users as well as mentors, investors and peers who shared our vision.
Unfortunately, the world's best idea doesn't always make a sustainable business.
Despite all the progress we’ve made in the last year and the wonderful support we received from our community, we had to make the tough decision last week to let Arribaa go. It’s been an incredibly fun and challenging year of working relentlessly to try and make that possible for more people, and we are truly sad that it has come to an end. In the process we’ve met hundreds of amazing people and enabled truly kick-ass experiences courtesy of our passionate hosts.
You need a great amount of passion, enthusiasm and self belief to start a global project like a peer-based travel marketplace. You absolutely have to convince yourself that your idea is going to work if you want the support of your team, your investors and your community. But at some point after you’ve done enough testing you have to apply the same willpower to squarely face reality in terms of the actual size of the opportunity and the size of the challenges to evaluate your true position and potential.
What we learned is that for a peer-based experiences marketplace like Arribaa to succeed, it will need to be massively scalable – tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of experiences. To be scalable to that size, it needs to offer huge value to both sides of the marketplace. For it to offer such value, the mechanics of the marketplace will have to be smooth – the availability, quality and price all have to combine with the right product, matched with right travelers, at the right place, at the right time, often on short notice. And when you’re working with non-professionals hosting experiences on an ad hoc basis for travelers who don’t desperately need the product (well, not as desperately as they need a place to stay, for example)… then well. Those mechanics aren’t exactly smooth and the potential for it to scale to the size you need in order to be sustainable in the long run rapidly diminishes.
Nevertheless, it’s a very interesting and dynamic space, with constantly shifting challenges and opportunities and I’m more than happy to talk about our specific experience with fellow entrepreneurs or those interested in this field. If you’d like to have a chat, please reach out to me on firstname.lastname@example.org and hopefully I can give you a heads up of what to expect and look out for!
We want to thank all our fans, supporters, mentors, users, hosts and especially our loved ones who stood by us and encouraged us to pursue our dreams. We are very proud of what we have accomplished and excited for what the future holds for us.
Colette, Vinko & Roger (Arribaa Founders)