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Interview with Jason Karas

Jason Karas, Co-founder and CEO of Trover, a location based app shares with us how he came up with the idea for this completely different photo sharing experience. Read Jason's interview below.

What was the inspiration behind the idea for Trover? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?

Trover co-founder Rich Barton and I are both crazy about traveling, and back in 2011 we were thinking about how difficult it was to record our favorite hotels, restaurants, surf spots, and other cool places, and sometimes share them with friends.  We saw the emergence of location-aware smartphones and the explosion of social photo apps as a huge opportunity to build something special for travelers.    

Around that time, we fell in love with Instagram and were inspired by the simplicity and beauty of that product.  We set out to build something as elegant & visual as Instagram, but super focused on explorers, the stories they want to tell, and bringing a traveler's sense of discovery to everyday life.  The 'aha' came when we realized that a simple concept - organizing photos by geography rather than time - could lead to an entirely different, more useful, photo sharing experience.  
What kind of images would people find on Trover?

Photos that will inspire you to get out and do something awesome!   Trover is powered by travel geeks and culture hounds that love to dig-up interesting places and share them through their own beautiful photos.  On Trover you might see the latest veggie harvest at your local farmer's market, a hang-gliding spot in Brazil, or meet the bartender of a tiny cafe deep in Amsterdam.  Our community now spans 175 countries.  You wont see a lot of kittens or selfies on Trover, rather you'll find great places you'll want to visit, and meet people who've been there.

How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?

It was a long fun experiment in sleep deprivation…. searching for the elusive single or double-syllable word that could connect us to discovery, travel, and special places.  And we had to find a URL that was available on a tiny startup budget. After many team sessions loaded with groans, nods, thumbs-downs, and laughs, we came upon Trover.  We liked the treasure trove, the world roving, the TR, the way it could be used as a noun and a verb. As soon as it hit the whiteboard, we knew it was the one.      

How is this service different from other similar apps like Yelp, Instagram, Foursquare, etc?

We've built our community, iPhone app and website specifically for travelers.   We offer a more location-aware platform to share stories compared to Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as a more visual experience than TripAdvisor and Yelp.
How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?

Right now we're 100% focused on growing our community and encyclopedia of fantastic original content that is both entertaining and useful.  We feel that as we facilitate this content and build it with our community, we’re going to become a much more interesting place to go shopping for your next outing, whether it’s picking a restaurant to go to tonight or picking a place to go for your next vacation. We'll combine original content from our community with sponsored content tailored to the needs of our customers.  We’re building the foundation of a totally different, visual, authentic, and personalized shopping experience for outings.

Can you briefly describe the team behind Trover?

We're a small team of explorers (7) who are passionate about travel, photography, and the power of technology to bring people together in new ways.  I have a background social and mobile products, starting with some of the earliest photo and music sharing services.  Rich Barton, our chairman and cofounder, started Expedia and Zillow.   

Every Founder makes mistakes. Can you share a few of yours and if you were to start again, what might you do differently?
One of our biggest mistakes was choosing to scale Trover too quickly.  About six months into our life, we built and launched a second mobile platform (Android).  We quickly realized that our core user experience needed a lot of refinements, and supporting Android was distracting us from that work.  We eventually pulled Android off the market, and pointed all of our efforts on getting our iPhone app really humming.

What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?
Talk to smart people with diverse backgrounds as often as possible.  Swap your latest ideas and challenges over coffee or lunch.  You'll pick up some great insights, get inspired, and its fun.  

What are you most excited about at the moment?

We're seeing the Trover platform come life in front of our eyes.  We're attracting new traveler/storytellers faster than ever before, and we're also seeing a growing demand for Trover content among media companies, hotels, destination sites, and bloggers.   

Review Author: Irina Georgieva

About the Author

- Irina currently works as a Chief Editor for GeekyCorner after having previously worked over 10 years in IT and Marketing across a number of industries, including mortgage, electronics, and software. She enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid fan of salsa.
February 07, 2013
Hotel Booking System
well developed, easy to understand, and easy to navigate
March 04, 2014
Ranah Edelin,
We Heart It
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About Jason Karas

Co-founder and CEO


Co-founder and CEO

About the Company

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