VIISA Founder's Sharing: Ask Locals

Ask Locals is a TravelTech startup that has just graduated from VIISA Acceleration Program Batch 7 this July 2020. Having spent a few weeks following up with the investors after VIISA Investment Day, Ms. Ngoc, founder of Ask Locals finally has time to do a short interview with us. Below is her sharings:

Why did you come up with the idea of Ask Locals in the first place?

Having been studying and working in the tourism industry in England and Vietnam for more than 6 years, I received lots of questions from my friends about where to go, what to do in Vietnam. However, I also have heard lots of complaints from my foreign friends who encountered tourist traps in Vietnam. And therefore, I came up with the idea to create a community of people with the same passion of showing tourists how beautiful Vietnam is, as well as sharing tips to avoid bad experiences when traveling in Vietnam. And that is why we have Ask Locals today.

Why did you change your startup’s name from Ask Vietnamese to Ask Locals?

After having received lots of advice from our mentors and EiR at VIISA, we decided to use the name “Ask Locals” for our startup because it creates a better opportunity to scale up. We still keep the name “Ask Vietnamese” for the community in Vietnam. And when we expand to other countries, we will have Ask Japanese, Ask Malaysian, Ask Thai, etc. Before joining VIISA Acceleration Program, what difficulty did you and Ask Locals team have to face? We always found it difficult to explain to other people what Ask Locals is and what we are trying to deliver to help tourists and local businesses. Whenever someone asked about our startup, we talked about so many things coming in our minds, but we couldn’t really define ourself and people still didn’t understand about Ask Locals. What we have realized after being challenged by VIISA team was the importance of knowing how to express our idea of Ask Locals to others. And now we have known the way to do it and it helps us reach out to more tourists, customers, and investors as well.

Before joining VIISA Acceleration Program, what difficulty did you and Ask Locals team have to face?

We always found it difficult to explain to other people what Ask Locals is and what we are trying to deliver to help tourists and local businesses. Whenever someone asked about our startup, we talked about so many things coming in our minds, but we couldn’t really define ourself and people still didn’t understand about Ask Locals. What we have realized after being challenged by VIISA team was the importance of knowing how to express our idea of Ask Locals to others. And now we have known the way to do it and it helps us reach out to more tourists, customers, and investors as well.

What was the biggest accomplishment of Ask Locals during the VIISA Acceleration Program?

Developing a clear and viable business model. Our team hadn’t acknowledged the importance of building a business model before joining VIISA Acceleration Program. The details of each part in the business model canvas (BMC) at first seemed easy to fill in, however, after having been questioned a lot by Mr. Alexander Jansen - VIISA’s trainer of BMC session and the VIISA Team, we realized that we would have to put a lot more effort into that. We spent a month researching and surveying tourists and our customers to find out what are the problems both are facing and the way for Ask Locals to fill up that gap. And today, we are confident that Ask Locals is now having a sustainable business model.

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If you are interested in joining our Program, register here: http://www.viisa.vn/apply-batch-8.

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