Updated: Jan 3, 2021
Some of us are lucky to have found our passion from an early age. The even luckier ones know exactly what they want to do with this passion, and start their entrepreneurial journey. And by the word 'passion' I don't mean that you knew you wanted to be a princess from the age of five, or a famous celebrity. I am talking about the kind of passion that you feel deep
inside your bones, the kind that makes your entire body shiver whenever you think about it! Sacha Schellevis, founder and CEO of MTT is one of those lucky few. We had the chance to sit down with her and ask her a few questions about the ideas and motivation behind MTT. We even asked for some tips, so for those of you who have a unique and inspired idea, take it all in. Our one piece of advice? Don’t be afraid to go for it! Even if you're alone!
Where did the idea for MTT first come from?
I was backpacking Sri Lanka with my ex-boyfriend. Around the third day we went for a drink in a bar in Kandy, and there was a fellow backpacker sitting at the table next to us who seemed to know a lot about the country. We started chatting and invited him to join us for a drink. He was talking about this safari park that wasn't very known yet and told us it was a must, and would miss out if we didn't go there. He couldn't recall the name of the park, and spent minutes searching on Google, and Google maps. That's where I had my first "Eureka moment". What if there was an app that tracks all your travels and where you can pin your favorite spots with photos and videos on your personal map? So you'll never have this problem again. From that point on, the ideas for MTT, and my love for travel started to flow and combine to the app that we have today.
How has your journey been to get where you are today? Any big surprises or something you learned?
It has been an extremely long journey, it was a bit of a rollercoaster! September 17th 2017, is when I first got the idea. It's now December 2020, and the app is being reviewed by Apple and Google, really it is unbelievable. I have learned so incredibly much. I actually never studied and left highschool after my baccalaureate (VWO+) to work in hospitality and save money. My ultimate goal was to travel and discover different cultures.
It has been an extremely long journey, it was a bit of a rollercoaster! September 17th 2017, is when I first got the idea. It's now December 2020, and the app is being reviewed by Apple and Google, really it is unbelievable. I have learned so incredibly much. I actually never studied and left high school after my baccalaureate (VWO+) to work in hospitality and save money. My ultimate goal was to travel and discover different cultures.
Where do you see yourself and the app in 10 years from now? For at least the next years, I think we will be continuously building, improving and adding onto the app. There are so many things you can do with a travel app, honestly the list is endless, as are my ideas. But first we want to make sure that our users have the best experience so the next big step is listening to feedback.
Where I see myself? No idea. I live life by the day. I'd love to open non profit hospitality projects in third world countries for young students.
What makes MTT more unique and different than the competition?
- First of all, the design. I think we have a very unique design. A lot of other apps look quite similar to each other in color use, and there's where we took the opportunity to stand out.
- Second one, I think we are more a mixture of apps that already exist. Rather than an app just to track your travels, MTT should be seen as the ultimate social travel community. The trips on you personal map, the steps and pins, and then the community, where anything travel related can be discussed. No existing travel app has a combination of these features.
- And third one, the bucket list. Whenever you see a spot from a friend or fellow traveler you want to go to and it has been pinned, you can add it to your bucket list. This way you can create a virtual inspirational wish list for all your future travels.
Besides these unique features, we are also implementing local stories. Here you will be able to share 30 second videos of your favorite spot from around your home (this idea came to me because of Covid-19). And people from around the world can add your spot their bucket list. We are constantly keeping up with trends around the globe, and adapting our features based on what is happening around us.
Why are you so passionate about MTT and travelling? Traveling has always been my kind of schooling. I traveled quite a lot by myself and you learn so much about people, respect and different cultures. But also about myself. I wouldn't be the kind of person I am today, if it wasn't for travelling.
My passion for MTT lies within the fact that I would really use it myself, I 100% believe in this product and how it can help other travelers. I have lost so many travel pictures on old phones, computers, etc. I was always looking for a place where I can store all these adventures and see exactly where and when they were taken. We will also implement a meetup function where you can meet fellow travelers on your trip. I wish I had that when I was traveling solo.
Can you share a personal favorite travel experience?
Oh that's a hard one... I think it would have to be the very first time I solo traveled. I went to Australia and after that to Cambodia for volunteering. I was 17 and I met a Swiss girl at an English course, and we travelled the whole east coast of Australia together. It was such a blast! After Australia I went to Cambodia for volunteering. This whole trip was magical, I met amazing people whom I'm still friends with today, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had an opportunity like this. I say with confidence that it was an experience that shaped me and my future.
How has it been to work on a start-up during Corona?
We actually started in October last year (2019) with developing. We were suppose to launch in March 2020, but the app wasn't ready yet. In the end, this might have been a good thing because launching a travel app during the middle of Corona and lockdown, is a little questionable. I soon realized how big and complex the app actually is and with so many social features we have to be as equally function, or better than similar apps or users will quickly give up. I had to change from developers as the app was too complex for the previous company. Of course people are traveling a lot less at the moment but I think in about a year things will pick up again. That gives us the time to perfect the app and listen to our users feedback and comments. So that the app will be more than ready when people will start traveling again.
What are you most excited about for the future of MTT?
Everything! I can't wait to see what happens after the launch, and how the users feel about the app. But I am excited about a specific couple of things:
- Making traveling easier, more fun and more "real" for our users. With "real" I mean that with our community you get the latest information and recommendations from fellow travelers. Instead of searching for hours and finding old blogs about "what the best camping is Biarritz" for example. I'm excited to see how fellow travelers will help each other with their own experiences.
- Different milestones about downloads of course. I think I will cry when we hit the 100,000 mark!
- Offering job opportunities in the future. Expanding my team is one of my dreams, having that group of dedicated people who are just as motivated to the app as I am.
Anything else that you would like to share with us Sacha?
If you have a business idea you believe in. Just start. Even if you have no experience in the field. I didn't. But in our era we can really find everything on the web. Don't wait on other people to join you if you can't find them. Just start, make mistakes and learn from them.