Only a few days are left until the first Travel Tech Tournament takes place; the applications from start-ups are still coming in, and we want to introduce another juror to you. We have interviewed Maren Lesche, international start-up & communications expert, speaker and moderator, and a great asset to our event. Find out more about her, the tournament and what tips she can give to the start-ups entering the tournament.
If you are a team of movers and shakers and have a great idea and the pitch deck to match? Let us know and hand in your pitch deck before the 14th of June.
Tell us a little bit about you? What's your background?
I am a communicator by heart. As a kid I planned to become famous and win a Pulitzer Price for writing the best romance novel of the 20th century. So I studied communications and media science. I never dreamt about becoming an entrepreneur, about having employees or about travelling for business. A few years ago, I entered the start-up world by accident and found my calling. Now, I am supporting start-ups – usually from the background - so no fame and fortune for me, but it's a super great job! I love to meet new people. I love to support their ideas and I also love to explore new fields of work.
How did you land in the travel industry?
I am not a creator but a heavy user of traveltech solutions. I could not survive without Lift or Uber, AirBnB or booking.com. Any new idea that comes up to make my life and the life of the millions of frequent travelers easier, will have my support!
Why have you decided to join the jury of the Travel Tech Tournament?
I want to learn and I want to teach. I support many accelerator programs across the world and I hope I can share some of this expertise with the traveltech start-ups presenting at TTT. On the other hand, I am super curious. I want to learn more about upcoming projects and get to know the entrepreneurs behind the new traveltech start-ups better.
What do you expect from the event?
New contacts, inspiration and just a very cool evening with likeminded people.
What is your contribution for the winner of the TTT?
I am happy to offer mentoring and support.
What is the most inspiring travel startup story you know?
I pick FlightRight and Instagram.
FlightRight for the obvious reasons: I am a travel maniac but also always on a start-up budget, ergo I am travelling cheap and always on a tight schedule. Lately I had very bad karma with rescheduled flights, cancelled flights and lost luggage. Very frustrating!
Instagram makes it on my list as it opens new horizons; although it is not the typical traveltech startup. I follow a lot of travel addicts on Instagram and get inspired every day.
What tips can you give to the start-ups entering the tournament?
Be authentic and prepare well. Engage us with a great story, pull us into your world and give us a glimpse of your passion. And most of all: Have fun. Enjoy it!
What is the worst thing to start the pitch with?
“Imagine Max” – I do not like fake personas.
What is your favorite travel destination?
Tough question! I am on the road for work so often that sometimes I forget to enjoy the destination I am in. I love road trips – limited cell phone usage, no pre-planned schedules, just a map and a great car. A few years ago, I explored Scotland like this – one of the best trips I ever had!
What is your travel tip/ #travelhack?
Do not over-organize! Take time to hang out with locals. If you are not a natural networker that is comfortable chatting with foreigners, find a sport program you like and sign in. Hiking Tours, Standup Paddeling or Beach Volleyball are great activities to break the ice.
Maren, thank you so much for your time and we are looking forward to seeing you at the event.