As most of you may know, up until now, pebblar has been somewhat a hobby project for Andrew and I. The journey started a couple of years ago out of pure frustration with having to use excel/docs/email to plan trips.
Over the last several months, we have reached a crossroads – without any paid marketing, pebblar now has almost 3500 subscribers and that means Andrew and I had a decision to make – keep pebblar as a side project or go out there and really have a go at making this tool which we both love and now rely on for our travels into a real business. After months of brainstorming on the possible paths forward, we chose the latter.
Deciding to have a real go at this wasn’t a decision we made alone – we have tested the water with friends who are users and/or potential investors with a business proposal we have spent almost half year to put together. The amount of support and positive feedback we received was both overwhelmingly encouraging and humbling.
We wanted and needed outside validation so we decided to do an angel round capital raise. We reached out to close friends who we knew, aside from their financial support, would also be great mentors and partners on this long and difficult journey we are about to embark upon. The most amazing part of this was, ALL OF THEM said “YES” (one even introduced a new strategic investor to us).
So, I quit my job and ended a 10 year career in finance. In the same week, we found our CTO – a position Andrew and I have kept vacant because we did not want to just hire any one and we knew when the time comes, the right candidate would appear, and he did. Introducing to you all our third founding member: John. Now the founding team is complete.
As most people would tell you, investing in startups, especially early stage startups, it is largely investing in the founders and their abilities to execute and adapt. So, I want to take a moment and thank all of our investors for taking that giant leap of faith to go on this journey with us.
Our official start date is 1 October 2017 and it has been a super busy 10 days – from trying to open a business bank account and being told it is a very difficult and painful process in Hong Kong, working up legal documents while trying to minimize our legal expense, to working on delivering our development goal of releasing our first fully editable app by year end. Things are definitely getting real and moving fast.
While Andrew, John and I are all super pumped, I am not going to lie, it is also a tad scary. It is our first startup and we are trying to create a tool that really has not been done before in a segment of the travel industry where, for better or worse, no one has managed to gain real scale.
So we decided to keep a journal and record every step of our journey – the pebblar story. Different to most development blogs you may have read before, we are not going to write about “lessons learned” or“advice to startups”, we just want to keep a diary of our progresses, keeping it real and genuine. You are all invited to go on this journey with us to read about our challenges and growth first hand and in realtime and if you are willing, share with us your advice and experiences.
Wish us luck!