Creating harmony within the Travel Ecosystem

Kim Lim, Co-founder and CEO – TripZeeker

Kim is a travel aficionado having visited numerous countries across different continents and explored many destinations within the Philippines. She previously worked as a Stockbroker in the Finance industry for 5 years. Kim has a Bachelor’s degree in Management Accounting from the University of Santo Tomas. Her goal is to promote local travel SME’s, create harmony within the travel ecosystem through collaboration and help boost tourism, especially in the Philippines.

Born and raised in the Philippines in the 90’s, having enormous families on both sides (father and mother side) means no single day is dull, she says. She has a mix of Chinese, Spanish and Filipino in her genes; grew up in Valenzuela City in a compound wherein her neighbours were all her relatives, she recalls.

Kim always knew that her passion revolves around traveling but that idea as a business never crossed her mind. The idea of starting a company related to travel presented itself to her. “I knew that I can provide a solution while pursuing my passion is something that motivates me. I am the one who constantly creates our trip itineraries, booking flights, researching for activities, applying for visas, finding hotels and everything related to travel. The people who know me can vouch for that. I helped a lot of friends plan their trips without them paying me. This is something I love to do and I know that I have a lot of experiences in this arena. Establishing this company means I can help more people to find the perfect tours and plan their dream destinations. I am a hustler and I never stop learning. I believe that I can use this as an edge to build something great, says Kim.”

She recently graduated from the FOUNDER INSTITUTE – a Silicon Valley-based business incubator, entrepreneur training and startup launch program that was founded in Palo Alto, California in 2009. (https://fi.co/)

Read below to know more about Kim’s entrepreneurial journey shared with the team ABT.

What inspired you to choose the path of entrepreneurship and what’s your biggest learning?
There are many reasons why I am motivated to be an entrepreneur rather than to stay employed. First of all, Passion, purpose and creativity- some of the most compelling reasons that sets my fire burning. Secondly, Opportunity- to do meaningful work by finding a solution and share it to the world. Third, providing jobs – contributing to the economy and helping people support their families. Fourth, Inspiration- to help people dream big and stay motivated. Fifth, Responsibility- one of my personal reasons is to do something valuable for the society. Lastly, the schedule is more demanding but it is not bound by the traditional 9 to 5. I have more control of my own time and destiny.
6 most important things I’ve learned by being an entrepreneur:

  1. HUSTLE – Never-ending grinds to get things done.
  2. TEAMWORK – it’s also about collaboration.
  3. RESILIENCE – It’s how we respond to barriers, and what we do next. It is a result of stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing fear or failure. Here, you lean into difficulty, you tackle it, and you learn from it so that the challenges strengthen you.
  4. NETWORK – It helped us amplify your reach.
  5. VISION – the main purpose of why we are building this company.
  6. GRIT – that combination of perseverance and passion, being constantly driven to improve.

How did you meet your co founder?
I and My Co-Founder Michael met here in the Philippines last 2016. He has an existing US-based SaaS business that he runs for the past 9 years. We both share the passion of innovation and travel. Having lived in the Philippines and as avid travelers, we noticed that there isn’t enough solutions in the travel industry to book and compare travel services online. With that, we created our own. We wanted to become pioneers.

Tell us about the journey of TripZeeker and how does it create a niche in the market?
I decided to start my entrepreneurial journey when I personally experienced this problem. Last February 10, 2017, I went to the travel and tour expo in SMX Convention Center, I was surprised by the amount of people; there was a queue all around SMX. It was outrageous and I’ve never seen anything like it. After few hours, I was able to get in and then I overheard of lot of people venting out their size and whines. They were having the same problem as me.

There were too many options, lines are long, and it looks like chaos. How can we make sure we are getting the good deal or not? The options are overwhelming. Then I thought, events like that happen only once to twice a year. And to think, some people have day jobs wherein they cannot go on leave just to go to an event like that. That’s the kind of problem I want to solve; something that is related to my passion.

Philippines is the perfect place to start this venture, travel and tourism plays a huge role in the growth of our GDP.

What is your philosophy while doing business?
I always believed that if you love what you are doing and are passionate about it, hard work is no longer a sacrifice. Even before I joined Founder Institute, I was well aware of the demands of being an entrepreneur. I can see it in the people around me like my family and that makes me more motivated to become one. The challenges they face makes them more resilient and stronger. Therefore, it is more satisfying. I am prepared to go above and beyond to follow my dreams and create value. I understand that it will be stressful but I also know that it can be more rewarding and I do acknowledge that with the strong support of people around me, anything is possible.

Achieving goals always requires a significant time commitment and entrepreneurship is no exception. Resigning from my full-time job is the first step towards making my vision a reality. I may never have a constant salary but what I can get is an opportunity of a lifetime to make something great. Pressure creates diamonds.

In your opinion how does travelling impact one’s life?
Travel has a different meaning for everyone. Some see it as a way to broaden the mind, others tick off places from a bucket list, yet another group of people would travel because they are restless and vying for new experiences. Travel has proven to put a distance between you and your problems and helps find creative solutions thereof, it also gives you a different perspective on life so that you can learn a better way to do things and figure yourself out.

Travel expands your horizons and makes you accept cultures and people unconditionally, all the while increasing appreciation for your own culture. It allows us to take a break from daily routine.  Seeing other cultures reminds us that there is so much out there and various ways of doing things. During the journey of travel it allows us to reflect and inspires change in the lives we live. It also makes us value experiences over things.

What would you like to achieve in the next coming years?
It is extremely important that we start to lay a strong foundation regarding the recruitment of team members, advisors and mentors. Simultaneously, this is where the core development of the platform begins. In addition, sales and traction are paramount. Juggling all the logistics properly will start to attract potential investors.

After few months, the platform should be fully launched with a massive inventory and 10,000 users. Moving into the latter part of the year, generating substantial sign ups, sales, marketing and proper public relations, rising funding becomes a top priority. Once capital is raised, the funding will be appropriated toward scaling the operations in the ASEAN region. More specifically, increasing staff and further automating processes.