Interview With Shri Lildharrie
Describe your product or service.
Lovu is a travel app that is all about romance and couples' trips. From wedding proposals to destination weddings to honeymoons to anniversaries to vow renewals to babymoons, romantic trips are easy on Lovu, where consumers get to develop a direct one-to-one relationship with hotels and travel advisors.
Describe your company culture in 3 words.
Connected, Innovative, Collaborative
Describe your company values.
Diversity, Simplicity, Trust, Passion
What are you ultimately hoping to achieve with your business?
Make the romance travel industry simpler for everyone involved
How are you funded?
How big is your team?
Tell us about your team.
I, Shri Lildharrie, am the founder and I am a travel tech, media pro and entrepreneur with over 20 years of travel industry experience and an expert in software-as-a-solution (SaaS) business development. I spent nine years at the world's leading wedding website, The Knot, driving revenues. During my tenure at The Knot, I generated over $50 million. Before that, I owned and operated Karma, a restaurant and event company. I also founded The Hotelogist Inc., a hospitality tech consulting company. I have also been helping hotel companies succeed online using a variety of forward-thinking technologies with NextGuest, now part of Cendyn, a world's leading hospitality tech and digital marketing company.
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
I guess it's in my DNA. I come from a family linage of business owners.
How did you come up with your startup idea?
While working at the world's leading wedding planning website TheKnot.com, I learned about all the hard work and planning involved in every detail of a couple's wedding. The honeymoon is no different. Couples spend countless hours researching and planning. Online travel sites are not helping these consumers, and finding a qualified travel expert is also difficult for consumers. I saw a gap in the travel industry and I am filling it with LOVU.
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
I need to come up with a name that identifies with consumers in relationships. I had a few other words I do not want to mention. My daughter helped came up with LOVU. She pointed out that LOVU is a text abbreviation of love you.
What is something that makes your company unique?
No one owns romance travel. No one is offering a solution that's helping make the romantic travel industry simpler for everyone involved. This segment of the travel industry is fair game, and all players underserve it. We devote everything we do to couples; they are the heart and soul of our business.
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
The most challenging part of founding LOVU is self-funding in these hard economic times. My income was significantly affected by the pandemic, so it's been a financial battle to get started. Gaining angel investors' confidence during a pandemic while the travel industry is hurting is tough. I am overcoming this my pre-selling the platform to early adaptors, hotels and travel advisors, they sign up via https://lovu.travel and we launched a consumer crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com https://igg/me/at/lovu
Is this your first business? If not, how did your experiences with past businesses influence your decision to start this new business?
LOVU is not my first business. My experience with past companies taught me a lot about what works and does not work. My experiences also provided me with confidence and knowledge that all play a role in executing my business plan and revenue model.
Who is your product or service made for?
Consumers in romantic relationship including married, living together, and dating.
What's your marketing strategy?
We will be relying primarily on content marketing. Our B2C content marketing (travel consumers) efforts will include brand marketing, specialized media, social media, public relations campaigns, expert advice marketing, influencer marketing, etc. For our B2B content marketing to hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, etc., we will include social media (LinkedIn), public relations, industry press, expert advice marketing, etc. Travel advisor marketing will consist of trade advertising, email marketing, trade conferences, content marketing and ongoing virtual mastermind classes where we will continuously educate travel advisors on the business of romance travel.
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
We have not launched yet, however our presale efforts with hotels and travel advisors are going extremely well.
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
Subscription, churn, contract value, renewals, upgrades, user acquisition cost, monthly recurring revenues, annual recurring revenues, user life time value.
How has your approach to managing your business changed from when you started to now?
My focus shifted from less product development to more sales, marketing, and fundraising.
What’s the #1 resource you rely on for success?
I rely on other successful entrepreneurs, and a network of trusted industry veterans as resources.
If you could go back in time and change anything about your entrepreneurial journey, would you?
I would not change anything about my journey. Everything that I have done has brought me to where I am today.
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
Never give up!
Who is your support system?
Who inspired you to start your business?
I love the travel industry, marketing tech, and I am a romantic. Developing a product that meets the needs of romance travel consumers that encompass my passion for travel and tech is inspiring.
What motivates you?
I am driven by innovation and being the first to develop or do something that others say cannot be done.
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success?
Yes, it is a work in progress. Focus on the the highest value task and stay healthy by exercising daily.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
My will power and desire to keep going and never give up.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Have a solid business plan and be prepared for financial challenges.
More on LOVU
LOVU is in the process of crowdfunding and establishing a complex network of travel consultants and hotels, and LOVU is on its way to launching the first romantic travel app on the market.
When we had the privilege of interviewing Shri Lildharrie, founder of new romantic travel app startup LOVU, he shared some invaluable insights from his time in the startup world.
We have developed this list of five creative and impactful ways to support travel startup LOVU.
Travel tech startup company LOVU has recently launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for its romance travel booking app.