We spoke to Alex Burn, the founder of the London-based startup IWB, dedicated off-road traveler and huge fan of riding ATVs, about a new app, Burns OffRoad, developed to unite all people who love adventure.
Describe your app – the elevator pitch…
Our mission is to create a global travel community for fans of ATVs, SSVs, 4x4s, snowmobiles and motorbikes. Our app, Burns Offroad, makes it easy to share experiences and routes, organize meet-ups and travel together.
Currently there are 15,500 users in Eastern Europe and we are now launching in the U.S. and Canada. The app is available on iOS and Android. Burns OffRoad also provides free offline navigation for hard-to-reach areas, allows to create routes, apply route markers, and save new found routes.
With Burns Offroad people would be able to meet other fellow travelers and enjoy their adventures together. All app users can organize a trip, let other people know about the place and time of departure on social networks or join an existing route using the app’s Meetups feature.
How are you different?
Other existing travel apps offer navigation tools, but ignore the basic social need for sharing experiences and information. We put a lot of effort into developing an understandable and user-friendly interface.
Our platform is easily scalable: we can add any new features in just a couple of days or adapt our app to any other vehicles and markets, for example, water scooters.
Unlike other travel apps, we are not limited to navigation: we are building a community, and our Meetups feature helps users from all over the world quickly find other off-roaders and travel together, communicate, exchange tips and pictures.
We have implemented machine learning to assess routes. The feature is currently available in a test mode. In the future, AI will analyze the road condition. We can also work with the Big Data: it used to take more than 20 minutes for some older smartphones to access the map road database. We reduced this time to seconds.
Who are you trying to attract to your product?
All adventure lovers, explorers, travelers and off-roaders, everybody who loves to explore the world are our potential users.
If we are talking about potential partners, these are manufacturers of equipment, travel gadgets, adventure travel tour operators. Using our app, they would be able to organize their own trips, create routes and share them with their customers as well as on social networks.
What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?
Be a contrarian! You have to put your heart into a product. Any criticism and negative feedback is more useful than praise. Praise gives courage. Criticism is an opportunity to improve a product, but only if it’s well-thought-out and clear.
Tell us about your team?
Currently there are 10 members of the Burns Offroad team working on a project, including developers and graphic designers. We have recently hired a cartographer to create our own maps. Also, we often invite consultants to receive recommendations.
What are your long term plans?
We’ve started working on the app in April, 2017 and already achieved significant results. Before launching in the U.S., the app’s functionality was tested on Russia’s remotest tracks.
This year, Burns Offroad will be enhanced with a functional feature for storytelling, Travel Diary, where people would be able to tell about their adventures, add photos and videos. All diaries would be collected on burnsoffroad.com website.
We are also planning to add some elements of gamification to provide our users more fun experience. We are also integrating some additional premium features soon.
In the future, with geo targeting the app will display nearby gas stations, ATMs and repair shops. Providers would be able to get reviews and see their ranking.
Also, we are thinking of developing our own GPS trackers.
How do people get in touch with you?
If you have any questions or suggestions, please, email me to [email protected], contact our developers at [email protected] if you have any technical questions, or check our website for updates https://burnsoffroad.com.