Business Startup Spotlight: TripHappy


We offer our clients location intelligence products to help their users in the accommodation booking process.


Co-founder Calvin Hawkes

Name: TripHappy

Location: Santiago, Chile; Delaware, MD USA


Product / Service Offering: Location intelligence for the tourism industry

Co-founder Interviewed: Calvin Hawkes

Other Key Management Team Members: Ben Granas, Carl Grafmuller

This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies.  We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.

Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.

Before starting TripHappy, the three of us worked for large corporations in New York. While it was an incredible learning experience, we all discovered how much we disliked the bureaucracy associated with a large company.

When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?Triphappy

We started working on TripHappy in 2015 after a couple years of discussing the idea. The product has evolved over time, but we originally realized the need for better location intelligence in the travel and tourism industry after traveling extensively ourselves. We have now been traveling full-time and working on TripHappy for the last 18 months. We have learned more about how we can serve the needs of our customers.

What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?

The most important factor when booking travel accommodation today is location. Yet the majority of booking sites fail to provide sufficient information to their users, resulting in decreased conversions and lost traffic. We offer our clients location intelligence products to help their users in the accommodation booking process.

What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?

Our competitors currently only focus on specific client segments or geographic markets. Our product has a broader geographic and client reach.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?

We spent the first 12 months working fully-remote across the globe from each other. This amazing experience was a great lesson in organizational communication. We needed to manage not only our own time, but our remote designers’ and content writers’ as well. We have built a good system for working remotely, which continues to help us today even as we move into a more semi-permanent situation.

Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?

For communicating with a remote team, tools like Slack, Trello, Asana, and Google Drive are irreplaceable. We rely heavily on these free products for nearly every aspect of our business.

< see related:  What’s Your Access to Today’s Entrepreneurial Tools? >

What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
Startup Chile

We have currently received seed funding as a part of the Start-Up Chile program. Towards the end of the program we may look to US-based investors for funding, depending on our needs at that point.

< see related: Global Accelerator Register >

Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?

It is not easy to get answers to certain legal and financial questions without support from a US-based investor or incubator. We can look up questions on Google or ask other founders, but getting solid answers without spending thousands of dollars on fees is very difficult.

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What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?

As founders of a company that was initially fully-remote and is now based in Chile, we find it difficult to connect with investors, partners, and clients.

What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?

We use content marketing to drive traffic to our site. After an article is published, we find people to distribute our article by searching Google with an intitle query. For example, after we wrote our neighborhood guide on Santiago, we found people willing to link to us by searching “Santiago + intitle:resources”. Many of the websites in the search results had a list of helpful resources for people traveling to Santiago. These were great targets to approach and ask if they would be willing to recommend our guide.


Want to learn about other businesses in the spotlight? Check out our Business Startup Spotlight Series.

Are you familiar with other startups you believe should be spotlighted? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them, sharing your comments below!

Sandra Sloan

Sandra has previous supply chain and business operations experience which she is leveraging as an author with FundingSage focused on spotlighting entrepreneurs and their startup efforts.