Young entrepreneurs: Doug Walker, Kurt Henderson, Olivia Higgs and Tom Charman, KOMPAS
The foursome who have built an app which uses mechanical learning to help travellers find authentic things to do in world-famous cities
Names: Doug Walker, Kurt Henderson, Olivia Higgs and Tom Charman
Ages: 22, 25, 22 and 24
Travel provided the business inspiration for the young founders behind KOMPAS.
While living and studying abroad in Munich, co-founder Olivia Higgs and Tom Charman grew tired of being herded to the ‘top 10' tourist spots and restaurants by travel websites as these often tended to be overcrowded and expensive.
In search of more authentic experiences, the pair started their own travel blog and Instagram channel which quickly attracted almost 25,000 followers.
With their social media success providing evidence of public demand for more authentic, personalised travel advice, in 2015 the duo joined forces with tech specialists Doug Walker and Kurt Henderson to turn their blog into city travel app KOMPAS.
Using algorithms and mechanical learning, KOMPAS promises to act as a “pocket guide to the world's urban jungles”, recommending things for users to do, offering guides to areas, and enabling users to create itineraries within the app.
Combining Walker’s background in programming and coding, Henderson’s understanding of user interface and user experience, Charman’s marketing expertise and Higgs’ passion for travel and languages, KOMPAS couldn’t have a more well-placed founding team.
Since launching out of beta in November 2016, and with minimal marketing, the app has attracted more than 1,000 users and has found success with high-profile competitions. The business represented the UK at the University Startup World Cup finals and reached the Virgin VOOM 2016 Live Pitchathon.
The foursome have also attracted an impressive board of advisors including the heads of Deutsche Bank, Cisco and Barclays, and recently raised a significant round of seed investment.
In spite of the challenges that come with the territory, Charman says being young has actually benefited his founding team and fuelled business development as they can relate and resonate with their target audience who are largely similar in age.
Currently participating in London Midland's travel and mobility accelerator programme, we suspect it won't be long until we're all using KOMPAS as our travel essential.