Exclusive interview with Linas Ceikus, CEO and founder of Tinggly, a new exciting take on global gifting.
I have been a serial entrepreneur. I first started working for myself at the age of 18. Whilst at university, I started up a hire car company which then turned into Active Holidays as an incoming tourism agency/operator. This then later developed into Activity Gifts for further international expansion.
Why is the product awesome?
Tinggly is a global gift solution company. People always have a problem of what to gift. It can be a headache! Tinggly has simplified everything people knew about experience gifting and took it to a global level. Looking for the perfect gift for a family member or a business partner living abroad? Perhaps a friend is planning a worldwide adventure? As well as being appropriate for everyday gifting for those close by, Tinggly offers the perfect solution for giving the best experiences on the planet to those living in different countries! How awesome is that?!
How was 2014?
Overall the year has been amazing! I learnt so much and feel wonderful having created something completely new. People talk about Tinggly and they love the concept – we are allowing people to inspire others through gifting. It feels great to have created a business which offers something completely fresh!
Wins in 2014?
In a very short time I have managed to gather a team of international superstars and successfully solidify the idea behind Tinggly. That is a huge success in itself. We have built brand personality, a website, relationships with experience providers all over the world and we are on time for this year’s Christmas gift rush. That’s a massive win. A great team brings miracles!
Things you’d do differently?
I would have invested more time in trying to physically bring the team together at the beginning. We are all over the world and – even though there are great tools available such as FaceTime, Skype, Gdocs, Asana – it’s crucial to have the whole team on the same page and agreed on the overall vision. For example, a small difference at the start can lead to huge discrepancies at a later stage. I would say we could have done even better (and quicker) if we invested more time in each other at the very start.
Plans for 2015?
I have a vision to build Tinggly Essential Experience collection to allow gift recipient to choose any dream experience from five of the best experiences in 100 countries. Some work is still to be done as we currently have 250 experiences. We will build two more Experience Collections: Premium at and Ultimate. A large focus in 2015 will be upon the US market and largest metropolitan areas there. We will expand Tinggly ambassadors program and will build lots of amazing content with enthusiastic people.
What useful things came out of Web Summit?
Web Summit is the place to meet like minded people from all walks of life which provides great inspiration. It is an opportunity to get your mind flowing on a different wave frequency! So one can expect lots of new ideas popping up while there. We have also started working with a few companies and concepts which I had not heard of before Web Summit (for example NeoReach) – there are more in the pipeline and we will come back to them next year after Christmas gifting rush is over. I wish Tinggly had taken a stand at Web Summit (we were a bit too late). However, we will participate in Collision in Las Vegas May 2015.
Success – your definition?
Very simple! Success is when you thrive and not just survive! Thriving is possible when you do what you love and live in full according to your values. Money is a by product and many people think the other way. If I have a successful business and a successful team then my life is successful! We want to share our success with others and that’s part of the reason we built Tinggly!
Scaling up, how is this going?
I have built up eight years’ experience in gift marketing and it has so far been a very fun and rewarding journey. Originally, I was scaling business country by country. I was launching local experience gift solutions with different brands like ActivityGifts.co.uk in UK and ElamysLahjat.fi in Finland and so on. That meant different legal entities, separate offices, teams and all the ‘beauty’ which comes along like bureaucracy and so on. Tinggly is a global gift solution, so whether you are in Dublin, your partner is in New York or cousin in Sydney, it works just as well!
Our IT infrastructure is fully scalable, all of the processes are automatic. At Tinggly we expand market by market at a time – the current focus being on Ireland and UK and the next plan is US and then Asia. Also, we are focusing on different client segment groups for example travelers, expats, B2B. Further expansion will be a lot based on languages. You probably know the term Glocal (as of Global but Local), we are ready to adapt Tinggly for Spanish speaking markets, German or Mandarin speakers, etc. 55% of people buy online only from websites that are in their local languages. 12 languages cover over 95% of worlds population. Tinggly is fully scalable business and global product.
Social media, which ones do you use?
How do you balance your time engaging with this and everything else?
Tinggly is my newest baby and since my other babies are grown up they don’t need as much of my attention. As of 2015, I will be full time on Tinggly and, with my fantastic team, plan to take things to the next level!
Tips for other start ups?
Invent something, don’t just copy! Create something that people really need! Think about the client first! Customer service is key! Build trust, trust, trust! People don’t buy from companies, people buy from people – aim to build people-based brands.
Work / life balance ? Your approach to it?
Life is work and work is life. Do what you love and you will never work again. Have fun now and not when you retire or you’ll miss out (yes you might enjoy the days then, but what about days now?) And no, you don’t need a ton of money to have great life – the most important thing is your attitude.
My life is a long and adventurous journey which I create and direct in the way I want to live my life. I have high ambitions and my vision is grand, but it does not mean that I can afford to sacrifice my family, my mind or my body. I spend a month each winter somewhere hot with my family. I live in the forest, ride quadbikes and love my morning yoga. I have initiated a Fathers’ and Children’s Sunday tradition where once a month friends (Dads and children only) meet and do something that kids would not typically do with their mothers (we bike, hike, camp, cook outdoors, etc).
In April 2016 I am off with my family and kids on the first leg of the round the world journey – Britain to Bali. On the way I will test out Tinggly experiences myself. That’s part of the reason I built Tinggly 🙂
Watch the explainer video below
Linas Ceikus – CEO. Serial entrepreneur with eight years previous experience in the experience gift industry, operating in eight countries (incl. UK, Mexico, Sweden, Finland and Poland.) Half a million experiences have been sold in local markets – Traveller and Adventurer.
Andrew Dobbie – Creative director. Founder of Made Brave creative design agency in Scotland. @
Tadas Pukas – CMO. Eight years of digital marketing experience. @
Sam Zawadski – Business Development and Partnerships. Serial entrepreneur, communicator, and speaker. @
Alex Gibb – Strategy and Sustainability.