Following discussions with a group of friends, Timilehin Ajiboye became attracted by the concept of creating a travel app in the summer of 2019.
Ajiboye received a message from a friend asking if he was aware of a website where she could discover new, attractive locations for eating, sightseeing, and taking photos. Then, while visiting Miami, he and his pals went out of their way to find picturesque restaurants and photo locations.
These needs are certainly quite vain. However, Backdrop is similar to other international social networking sites that let users take transient images, flaunt their lifestyle on vanishing stories, or find millions of customized short movies.
Additionally, social media, which has grown dramatically over the past ten years, has altered not only how we interact and communicate but also how we travel.
Over 60% of social media users upload images from their travels, and more than 36% utilize platforms to get travel inspiration, according to according to Statista .
The majority of this traffic is controlled by Instagram, but according to Ajiboye, finding travel-related information on the platform now takes absurdly long amounts of time. He contends that the necessity for specialised platforms was caused by the expansion of large platforms like Instagram into all types of content.
Instagram functions as a picture-based operating system. Instagram is the center of all things, including e-commerce, beauty, and travel. The same is true of Pinterest, he noted in an interview with TechCrunch. You’ll notice that more people are using these platforms for travel, and that no trip experience has been developed that considers 2021, when people would prefer to shoot photos in front of attractive locations and share them with their friends.
TRAVEL AND SOCIAL MEDIA There isn’t currently a reliable resource for locating desirable locations purely for aesthetic reasons. Backdrop, according to its creators, is primarily designed for both journey exploration and this.
For instance, tourists visiting Dubai who are looking for hip spots typically do one of three things: ask friends and acquaintances, use Google, or enter a hashtag on Instagram.
According to Odufuwa, everything appears when you use Google or Instagram, including results that are unrelated to your search. Backdrop alters all of that if you’re seeking for pink restaurants in Dubai and can’t find them on Instagram.
Users may find and share picturesque photo locations using Backdrop depending on their hobbies and criteria. Backdrop, according to its creators, can be a travel companion for millennials and Gen Zers, especially those who are fixated on visiting beautiful places, as post-pandemic travel becomes more complicated.
The most important details for each background are the hours of operation, address (connected to Google Maps), price and admittance fee (if applicable), availability of Wi-Fi, pet policy, outside sitting, wheelchair accessibility, and dress code.
Several Backdrop beta users were reached by TechCrunch. Two camps formed in accordance with their shared interests. Some people appreciate its Collection function, which combines Pinterest and Google Maps by allowing users to save backgrounds. Others favor the Explore option, comparing it to a hybrid of Instagram and Google Maps.
Users can search for certain locations using hashtags, and the Backdrop Near Me function helps them identify additional locations to visit nearby their current Backdrop location.
The business has a photo research team that locates these locations in 26 cities across the world. Additionally, they collect photos and add the required data into each backdrop.
However, the founders of Backdrop claim that their research team has gathered thousands of images from the following cities: Amsterdam, Dubai, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, New York, Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Cape Town, New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, Marrakech, Fez, Tangier, Rabat, Cancun, Cabo, Tulum, Lagos, Abuja, Madrid, and Valencia. There are typically 100 to 300 images on the platform for each city.
Backdrop is aware that using a specialized crew to upload photographs will not be scalable in the long run. As a result, the business allows customers to upload their own backdrops and provide the relevant data on each. Before the posts are published on the platform, other users vote up or down on them. Additionally, they can evaluate others and gain redeemable points for fostering the community.
That is how, according to Ajiboye, they are attempting to shift from needing to manually select backdrops to letting the community choose which backdrops are featured on the site.
There is a degree of democracy involved in crowdsourcing votes on content or, in our case, backdrops, even though there are instances where not always the greatest photo or content appears at the top of the search. We attempt to automatically determine from our end whether the information is accurate as well.
Backdrop has secured an FAF round to scale the product and expects to add 20 more cities this year. But the three founders have gotten accustomed to the saying “greater responsibility comes with scale.”
The trio first connected at a young journal with an emphasis on Africa called Zikoko over six years ago, and their careers in technology and digital media grew from there.
The CEO of Backdrop,
Odufuwa, oversees Binance’s PR efforts in Africa. Along with Eweniyi, who serves as Backdrops COO, she co-founded the Feminist Coalition, a women’s rights and equality organization based in Nigeria.
PiggyVest, one of the most well-known financial platforms in Nigeria, also has Eweniyi as its COO.
CTO Ajiboye is the executive and technical lead at cryptocurrency exchange Buycoins and crypto-powered remittance platform Sendcash, both of which are backed by YC.
CONSTRUCTING A GLOBAL PRODUCT The founders have managed a number of businesses, however they have mostly focused on Nigeria or Africa. Backdrop, however, is very different because it has a global target market. I therefore felt compelled to ask the founders if they felt focused or qualified to lead the business.
Running a global product isn’t any different, Odufuwa retorted. Each entrepreneur has successfully managed several businesses in fast succession, so they won’t have any trouble adding Backdrop to the mix.
I believe that we “Millennials and GenZs” are simply really skilled at juggling. You learn to juggle, and I believe that’s a skill that applies to life in general even though it could come with weariness and burnout. However, I am confident in your commitment.
While the founders are excellent leaders and teammates, Ajiboye continued, they will need to assemble a worldwide team in order to maintain the business over the long term.
I don’t think that will be a problem because people have accomplished far more difficult tasks simultaneously, Ajiboye jokingly said.
Social media networks are renowned for placing a high priority on user expansion before generating income or profits. Backdrop, one of the only social media platforms created by Africans with a chance of becoming popular with a worldwide audience, has no intention of being an exception.
The platform’s founders offer some ideas on how it will generate income, including examples such as advertising, bookings, reservations, tourism through private and public partnerships, and revenue from content providers.
According to Ajiboye, there are many of potential for content development and discovery in the travel industry. The existence of a community is crucial since they will influence the platform’s development. Growth is therefore the top focus right now, and we believe there are numerous opportunities to make money.