August 10, 2015

Great tech startups begin with a great development team

Ela Goczyńska-Han, COO/Business Development Chief of Coders Mill, at the company’s table at the Launch Festival in San Francisco in March (Photo by JD Lasica).

This is part one of a five-part series on “Rise of a startup: Cruiseable.” Today’s installment looks at the decision to hire an overseas development team, Coders Mill.

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startup teams, angel investors, venture capitalists, developers, businesses, innovators, educators, students, journalists, travel analysts.

JD LasicaDuring the past 16 months, as longtime readers know (and this blog goes back a long way, to May 2001), I’ve gone full throttle into startup mode, working with my co-founder Giacomo Balli on a travel tech startup called Cruiseable. We’re out to make it much easier and more fun for people to discover, plan and book great cruise vacations.

Over that span, friends, colleagues and strangers have asked me to write about our journey. And while I don’t lay claim to unlocking major new business processes or media insights, I do think some of what we’re doing will be of interest to other entrepreneurs (current and aspiring), as well as journalists, innovators, analysts and anyone interested in how the travel tech and cruise worlds work.

Unlike most startups that come out of Greater Silicon Valley (which includes San Francisco, which now spawns more startups than the original Silicon Valley), we decided not to spin out a few prototypes, test them, iterate and move on to something else if things didn’t immediately click.

That approach doesn’t work if you’re setting your sites higher — and we’re out to bring some rockin’ new social and mobile innovation to the $38 billion cruise industry. So we spent the first few weeks not coding, but researching. Learning. Absorbing all kinds of reports about the connected traveler, millennial travelers and the next generation of collaborative and empowered travelers.
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March 10, 2014

Cruiseable: Cruise vacation planning reimagined

From left, Nancy Cole, JD Lasica and Giacomo Balli of Cruiseable (taken with JD’s iPhone).

Target audience: Entrepreneurs, startup teams, angel investors, venture capitalists, cruise industry representatives, travel bloggers and podcasters, tourism boards and organizations, marketing professionals, brand managers, journalists, trend watchers.

JD LasicaIjust landed in Miami for the biggest cruise conference of the year, Cruise Shipping Miami, now in its 30th year (otherwise I would have been at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin).

The reason? We’re preparing for the launch this summer of Cruiseable, the startup that CTO/mobile app wiz Giacomo Balli and I are co-founding, with massive input from cruise and travel journalist Carrie Finley.

While other startups typically go stealth before launch, we decided to go social instead. (I gave a talk at a startup conference last June about The Social Startup.) The reasons are twofold:

• We’d like to hear from potential business partners, angel investors and team members. We already have three angels on board, including a partner in Google Ventures, so drop me a line if you’d like to see our business deck or to discuss a business collaboration. (Early seats at a great valuation are going fast!)

• We’re not afraid of other startups jumping into the fray. Lord knows, the cruise industry can use more mobile and social innovation from any and all up and comers! Continue reading