Are you searching for a unique travel experience, but have found that most websites and guides are out-dated and unable to provide the insider tips and advice you need? To help you make the most of your backpacking adventure, Henry and friends came up with the BackTracker app when they noticed a gap in the market during their travels around South America. Find out more about this exciting new app, along with useful tips for other young entrepreneurs and the challenges of starting a business. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and education? I studied Politics & Spanish at the University of Bristol, graduating in June 2015. As you can see, hardly qualified to run (or even get involved with a tech start-up!). I studied and worked in Madrid during my year abroad before packing my bags for South America to travel before my final year. Tell us more about the BackTracker app: What does it do exactly? When we were travelling in South America last summer, we realised that there was a massive disconnect between backpackers and small travel businesses. Backpackers are unable to find the unique experiences they are travelling for. Businesses can’t reach their market except via word of mouth. Existing travel guides are generally in book form, not personalised and not up-to-date. Social platforms like TripAdvisor are not used by backpackers because the content is irrelevant and limited if non-exsitent off the beaten track. BackTracker is a platform for users to share and discover things to do and places to go when backpacking. What inspired you to create this app? The idea came whilst travelling and from our need to cure our own itch: namely the lack of relevant, user-generated content for working out where to go and what to do next. I think the fact that we started the company whilst at University was a big factor, as it meant that taking the plunge and starting the business was less daunting. We had no real commitments, a lot of free time, a passion for the problem we were trying to solve and were eager to learn. Can you describe your business model? The business model is a B2B one. Essentially, we broker bookings between backpackers and businesses. We are targeting the total backpacking market, 20% of the $217B annual youth travel industry. The market share we can monetise is roughly half the money spent on backpacking - roughly 20 billion dollars in total - with our main focus being on tours and activities in Europe, which have traditionally remained offline, as well as accommodation and transport. Were you given much support by your university/other accelerators/incubators? We successfully pitched for a £1,000 grant from the University of Bristol, which helped fund our marketing in the build up to launching the product. In your opinion, what has been the most challenging part of creating your own business? Everything has been challenging, but it’s all part of the experience. You have to learn as you go and overcome problems as they happen. However, the biggest challenge I suppose has been focus. We had a positive initial reception and then tried to do too much at once. By zero-ing in on the core value of the product and ruthlessly stripping out anything that gets in the way of that, we are seeing really positive results in usage, retention and app downloads. What advice would you like to give to other young entrepreneurs? You’ve got to jump into it prepared but also with a very open mind. We’ve had a lot of luck in getting to where we are but that has come through being prepared to make a hell of a lot of mistakes along the way. Starting a business at university is just as much about the fun and learning process as it is wanting to make a success of it. The rest of the team and myself have pretty much gone through a self-taught MBA in terms of our learning curve and being able to constantly apply our knowledge has been so fulfilling. So you’ve got to look at all the pros that there are even if you don’t make a success of it. The experience and knowledge you’ll acquire is going to be so much more valuable than the content you study for your degree. So draw up an initial plan, be prepared to constantly adapt and just go for it! What are your plans for developing BackTracker? We have a very exciting launch in the pipeline with our social guide app, which has been built off the back of 9 months of app data and market research (March 2016). It’s under wraps still, but follow our progress on social media or drop us an email if you’d like to join the tester group! Thank you for sharing your story and advice with us Henry, and we hope BackTracker continues to grow and be as successful as it deserves to be! If you like the sound of BackTracker and would like to find out more, visit the BackTracker website, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook!