How TuriTop is leading the way for start-ups and tekkies in Tenerife
We geeks love Tenerife as well!” A tongue-in-cheek remark from Valieriy Slysarenko, co-founder of TuriTop, a start-up business based in Tenerife offering a booking system in more than 14 countries.
This successful team can afford some humour, however, as it goes from success to success. They literally started in a garage before moving to an office in San Isidro de Abona.
Two out of three co-found-ers did website development and other consultancy work while the third co-founder built their product by himself.
Today they have customers not only in Tenerife but also in many destinations throughout the world.
TuriTop provides a booking engine in the cloud. Business of all sizes can pay a small monthly subscription to use the booking system instead of spending thousands of euros in developing their custom system which will never be as good as theirs.
They focus on tours and rentals, where most small businesses haven’t made the jump yet to full online booking management.
They have really interesting customers, like a company in Mexico using TuriTop to sell tickets for dinner hanging from a crane 60 metres up, another in London which organises graffiti tours, another in Barcelona doing Scape Games, whale watching boats in Tenerife, or kayak tours in California to name a few.
Another interesting fact is that TuriTop never travelled outside Tenerife to visit a customer. They build relation-ships with potential customers by email and Skype.
In fact, it can be more efficient to have customers abroad than in Tenerife, because local customers often ask you to visit them at their office or pop up unexpectedly at yours. This can double or triple the time spent per customer, while email and Skype conversations tend to be more efficient.
Nevertheless, the folks at TuriTop spend time with their customers in Tenerife and enjoy the human contact after all day working in front of a PC, although it is interesting to see how the world gets smaller and location be-comes less of an issue.
Building a start-up is easier in tech hubs like London or Berlin, were you have access to experienced talent, in-vestors, attorneys specialising in IT, niche consultants and other tech startups to build partnerships with.
However, Tenerife is so warm… who needs anything else?
Software companies can build their products anywhere in the world, so tech talent may try moving to places with nice weather and lifestyle despite the lack of tech ecosystem.
Asking Valieriy about infrastructures in Tenerife for tech companies, he says: “The advantages are more on a personal level. Coming to work in flip-flops and going to the beach after work are things that money can’t buy in other European Tech hubs like London or Berlin.”
“I believe this factor will make the difference over the long haul. There are a lot of Europeans with talent and experience desperate to move to places with good weather.”
“Keeping a talented deve-loper happy in Tenerife may cost 3000 euros/month gross, while companies in London or Berlin have to pay above 6000 euros/month for the same talent. Lower production costs means lower prices. Lower prices provide a competitive advantage. As long as there is sunshine in Tenerife there will be a competitive advantage for tech companies”.
“It is not only about salary, it is also about stock options. Most tech startups give shares to key employees… if you are going to spend at least three years of your life working on a project for little salary (mostly stock), would you rather join a company in London or Tenerife? Which place has lower living costs?”
Valieriy added: “We never took VC [Venture Capital] money – not by choice, we just never found a VC fund in Tenerife. So far we only took small amounts from friends and family”.
“It’s generally people who made money with startups that invest on and advice younger entrepreneurs. That’s and important piece which Tene-rife lacks but hopefully will get better over time”.
“Regulation is not great either, but at least having IGIC instead of VAT is a competitive advantage when selling within the Eurozone”.
The island has more tech startups like TuriTop, but they often go unnoticed by locals if the business focuses on foreign markets. This is an interesting space to keep an eye on in the future.