Virgin StartUp of the week: Jambo

Ever been travelling solo and wish you had someone to chat to, check out a local site, or grab a drink with? Or moved to a new city and wanted to find a friend to show you around? With more people travelling than ever before, the chances are you have - and that's the idea behind Laura Stembridge's app, Jambo. Use the app to find people in your area while travelling, or to start making new friends with just a swipe. Let's find out more!

Richard B in lift

We choose one Virgin StartUp company to be featured on each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson? Please answer the questions below, keeping each answer to five sentences max. 

Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does.

Jambo is a mobile application. It enables locals, expats and travellers to meet new friends in a fun and informal way, without having to worry about the other person's agenda - we're not a dating app!

We know from personal experience that who you meet when you arrive in a new city, whether it's for work or pleasure, is left up to chance. Relocation and travel can be very lonely.

We have a huge passion for travel and networking. We would like to ensure that everyone has someone to share those once in a lifetime moments with, whether that be exploring a city or lazing on an exotic beach.

Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?

We are based in London.

Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?

Jambo will be free to download and use. Jambo has two main revenue streams:

Subscription Model. Users can select to upgrade their basic membership (free) to a premium level membership for a small monthly cost.  The premium membership will have extra functionality as well as other perks.

Commission Model. Users will be able to make bookings (accommodation, travel, activities etc.) through the app. We are working with partners and affiliates to make this happen!

Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?

Our biggest competitors are Meet Up and City Socialising.

Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?

We have a number of USPs, including:

- Advanced screening - you can set your search preferences

- No fake profiles - we are a community of people, not robots!

- Feel at home: filter results to connect with friends from your home country.

- No stress: no need to worry about other users’ agendas – this is a friendship community!

- Lasting friendships: we will only show your profile to people who want to do the same activities as you

Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?

I have always thought how difficult it can be to meet new people locally and when travelling for work and pleasure. My peers echo the same thought – who you meet is often left up to chance. On a career break last year it occurred to me just how many people are using social media for dating, so why not create a social platform for friendship?!

Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?

£500. I took out the loan to access the mentoring support. In hindsight, we should have looked to borrow a much larger amount!

Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?

The money has been used to cover the graphic design costs.

Floor 8 to 9 – Who’s your Virgin StartUp Mentor?

Paul Burgess

Floor 9 to 10 – What’s your workspace like?

Jambo is a new company (founded summer 2014) that is bootstrapping, so every penny counts at this stage. To save money for development and marketing costs, I am currently working from home balancing Jambo alongside with the day job… not an easy task!

Floor 10 to 11 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?

Jambo will be launching on iOS (iPhone) in alpha over coming weeks. We are looking for c.1000 people aged 18+ in London to be a part of our alpha trial and to help us test the app. All users who complete the trial and submit feedback will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad mini. To sign up to our alpha please register on our website (please note you will need an iPhone to take part).

We are launching a seed investment round in April 2015 where we will be hoping to secure c. £250K investment.

We have just received great news that we have been selected to attend Google Launchpad. Google Launchpad in an invite only training course for tech start-ups.  This is really exciting news for us!

Over the next 12 months, we will be further developing the functionality of the app and launching our beta. In addition, we will be starting development on Android.  Jambo will launch initially in London. Once up and running here, we'll be looking to do a phased rollout globally.

To find out more about Jambo check out the website, or connect on Twitter and Facebook.

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