A decade ago, Maria Miguel founded cultourberlin to offer Spanish-speaking visitors a wide range of experiences in Berlin and the rest of Germany, including tailor-made workshops in graffiti (urban art, not the programming language) and chocolate (which is always near and dear to my heart.) With relationships and ongoing referrals from more than 3,000 travel organizations, everything was going and growing well.
But then there was Covid (you’ve probably heard of it), and tourism stopped. She has made a podcast about covid & travel. She still had unlimited energy and ambition but no longer had customers or cash flow, so (of course) she started a new company. Lis10app is a way for a leader to talk to a group of people without relying on the availability of infrastructure. This gives tour guides (or other speakers) a portable wifi access point (not connected to the Internet) that they and their clients can connect to. The guide transfers his/her voice through his/her phone, connected to the access point, which in turn reaches the audience’s phones through their headphones and without having to download the app. She had been looking for something like this at the beginning of the pandemic but hadn’t been able to find anything that didn’t rely on infrastructure that simply might not be there.
Separate from the Covid use case, it has many advantages of the typical unassisted tour group, including better sound quality, not disturbing nearby tourists, and preventing people who hadn’t paid from just listening in.
Tour groups can safely restart as tourism restarts, but people don’t want to be crowded together and need better experiences. There is a wide range of other applications within lis10app, including silent discos (enabling HQ Audio for live music streaming). Once covid is safely behind us, the advantages of her offering will remain.
She’s been running this with lots of enthusiasm but little cash. It seems like exactly what an investor should want. She has deep knowledge of the space and needs along with pre-existing distribution channels. They, however, want to see an MVP before writing checks.
With the three-thousand contact Rolodex, she was quickly able to get guinea pigs (whoops — I mean beta testers). Once the testing is completed so that improvements and bug fixes can be added, she can start to roll out. Since she keeps her supporters updated over the year of development, plenty of early adopters are waiting in the wings. She will quickly go from just having an MVP to having significant traction. Perhaps those investors waiting for the MVP will regret missing an early investment window.
attributes much of the success of her original business and hopes for the new company to networking very widely and developing relationships with an extensive set of people both in the industry and in even vaguely related sectors. It now looks like her decades of networking in this space may allow her new venture to be an overnight success.