Meet Mita Carriman, Co-Founder of Adventurely

#PEIntensive16, entrepreneur, inspiration

Get insights and advice from some of the most innovative entrepreneurs out there. Leading up to Project Entrepreneur’s Intensive in NYC from April 9-10, 2016, we’ll be profiling the PE Class of 2016 finalists. Follow along for the latest on the Intensive with #PEIntensive16.

Meet Mita Carriman, co-founder of New York-based startup, Adventurely, an app to book tourist activities and find a travel buddy on-demand. We sat down with Mita to get insights and inspiration:

What inspired you to start your company?

Believe it or not, I can actually trace the inspiration to a taco. After having an unexpected breakup with my ex at the time, I decided to get out of Brooklyn and catch a bus to Philly where some friends I work with were involved with a music festival. I checked out the festival and when it was over I got a hotel room to stay out there a little longer. It was my first time doing a solo leisure trip, and I liked the independence involved, but I also wanted to meet new people while I was out there. I also really wanted to find company to join me to get tacos at cool place I heard about. I turned to tech for help in meeting people and the common solutions weren’t that useful. The guys on Tinder were looking for things other than tacos (to put it nicely), and when I went to, there weren’t any Meetups scheduled that fit my travel schedule, and it didn’t make sense for me to purchase and grow an entire Meetup group for tacos when I was just a solo traveler and leaving Philly soon. The problem stuck in my head when I returned to NY, and few months later I got the inspiration to solve it with Adventurely. When I researched the market and saw that ¾ of all women in the US were now traveling solo and that there was a Trillion Dollar market opportunity, I felt confident to pursue Adventurely as a real business.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Pretty much all the women we speak with immediately get the solo travel market we target with Adventurely, but it has been a challenge for some men to understand why there is such a vast female solo travel market. Some men we’ve spoken with have wondered if women who pursue solo travel do so because they aren’t attractive and can’t find a mate – and comments like that from some men can be disheartening to hear. Many of the men we speak with also assume that a woman will feel comfy using dating networks to meet people as a solo traveler, and find it hard to comprehend that many women choose solo travel because the are looking to “find themselves” and might likely be avoiding dating while traveling solo for that reason.The research shows that solo travel for women doesn’t even mean that they are “single” to begin with. Women whether married, single, or in relationships have become fanatical about solo travel because it gives them a combination of freedom, rejuvenation, and independence that they really crave in their lives. Its a conversation we hope that more men can come to understand better over time. With 3/4 of all women in the US now traveling solo, we find it to be an important one.

What’s been the greatest reward?

I love when users tell us how much they love Adventurely, and that they’re recommending it to their friends. That’s the greatest reward to all of this, and pretty much puts me over the moon and has me doing cartwheels in my head!

Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough.

A few things motivate me. For starters, the sheer market size of women we can help with Adventurely keeps me the most motivated. Solo travel for women is exploding at disproportionate rates to men, and it feels so good to be building a product that is best tailored to her needs. 72% of all women in the US are now traveling solo; 79% of women in South Asia are now traveling solo and 81-91% of women in the UK, France, & Germany are traveling solo. Female solo travel is a Trillion Dollar opportunity, and we’re excited to lead the way for it in tech! The other thing that motivates me is having such a strong Co-Founder, Luis. Luis is extremely gifted not only in his technical skill, but also as a visionary for the  growth of our technical development. I also feel incredibly lucky to have some really impressive advisors on board. Having such a great team also motivates me, every day.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another entrepreneur just starting out?

If it’s just one piece of advice, then I would strongly encourage a new entrepreneur to make sure that there’s a market for what they plan to monetize as a business. There are plenty of business ideas out there that might play to the desires of an entrepreneur, but they might not play to the desires of consumers. I had a hard but good lesson with this a few years ago.

Adventurely isn’t my first tech startup or career path. For the past 7 years I’ve been a music lawyer and in 2012 I got the idea to start a web business called “Team-Indie” as an inexpensive solution for indie musicians to get their legal and business needs in order – think “Legal Zoom” for musicians. What I quickly realized after launching is that most musicians either sadly completely skipped legal all together as an expense, or preferred to spend higher price points on an attorney for a more personalized legal experience. The market size wasn’t all that impressive either, with a small market for musicians, and an even smaller market for musicians actively tending to their legal affairs. I came to these realizations after I had launched, and that’s why Team-Indie closed very quickly. I took this lesson about market research to heart with Adventurely and carefully researched solo travel before making the decision to launch Adventurely. My research of the market opportunity for Adventurely and solo travel blew my mind with the amount of women doing solo travel and the travel market as a whole being a trillion dollar industry. Def make sure there’s a market first and foremost would be primary advice to new entrepreneurs.

Learn more about how Adventurely works.