Authenticitys

Authenticitys: Your online platform for social impact tours

SpainSpain
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Authenticitys is an online platform connecting conscious travellers with local changemakers through city experiences and tours. We host experiences with our community of entrepreneurs to curate an incredible time that will leave a positive impact in the city you visit.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if travelling we make the cities we visit better? What if we could offset our travel carbon credits by changing what we do at location?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We love to travel but mass tourism comes at a cost 1. Environmental hardship 2. Erosion of local culture and gentrification 3.Money spent does not trickle down to the local economy Small social initiatives, and NGOs which are solving some of these challenges lack visibility to access a market of potential customers both offline and online for their products and services (tours).

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Authenticitys online platform and experiences raise awareness and activate travellers to be a part of the innovative solutions and experiences occurring in the cities, redirecting tourism revenues (+1 trillion EUR) towards local economies. So far we have identified +50 experiences in different cities, and we have began to have a positive impact. This allows us to position ourselves as the community builder, that can leverage engaged customers to book experiences as they travel. Both the organisations and the travellers get “impact points” as they travel. We have a fully functional and tested platform that is currently offering 8 experiences, booked by 500+ travellers and we have signed partnerships to add 38 other tours in 15+ cities 2015.

Awards

Impact Hub Scaling Program
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Take for example our Turquoise Tour, where we stop to talk to Mamadou, a 23-year old Senegalese immigrant that has set up a bicycle shop where he employs people in a similar situation and has an organisation dedicated to promote equality and employability. Our tour raises awareness about these issues andbrings potential customers to Mamadou. We activate travellers be a part of the innovative solutions and experiences occurring in the cities, redirecting tourism revenues (+1 trillion EUR) towards local economies. Through our authentic city experiences everyone can be part of the positive stories transforming the cities. Impact is measured for each experience, for each organization and for each traveller’s profile.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Authenticitys is changing the way we travel (Activity) connecting people (Output) to support local initiatives (Outcome) that make our cities better (Impact). Authenticitys objective is two-fold: a) For travellers, we offer them different way to visit a city and behave towards tourism, amplifying their perception on how travel can be a vehicle for transformation for themselves and the locals community. b) For the social tour providers we are offering an opportunity to expand knowledge, skills, and values, transfer artisanal practices and engage in an entrepreneurial activity. We have a fully functional and tested platform that is currently offering 8 experiences (3 Barcelona, 5 Madrid and 1 Vienna) that have been booked by 310 travellers between May to September 2015. This has validated the proposition we curate and deliver experiences with anecdotal evidence of creating impact.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

A unique online platform that connects conscious travellers will remove this barrier and permit the potential EUR 660 billion in conscious tourism revenue worldwide per year to be destined to the local economy. The Authenticitys platform is the first platform to connect a growing community of mission-aligned partners and travellers forming an ecosystem for meaningful travel with an easy-bookable and tracking system. By end of 2018 Authenticitys will be operating in over 100+ cities, have booked over +50.000 travellers and be the the lead social impact tour booking platform.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Authenticitys derives payment from each experience booked online. Users book their travel, and our partners pay 15% for the use of our platform, customer acquisition, and impact measurement. Each transaction is on average EUR 27, and experiences need an average of 10 users to operate a full capacity. Between January and December 2016, Authenticitys’ online platform model will drive an estimated volume of +50.000 transactions.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We have seen a growth of Peer-to-Peer, local, recommendation-user-curated Platforms and Social and responsible Travel platforms. Authenticitys clearly differentiates from them in that it is the first online platform that connects organisations and people that are already doing social impact Authenticitys works only with organsiations, NGO’s and social enterprises that share our values and are committed to creating a positive social impact through employment of vulnerable groups (youth, homeless, immigrants and refugees, disabled, etc), that encourage education through sustainable jobs.
Team

Founding Story

Elena co-founded Bloom Microventures in 2010, a social enterprise that uses revenues from tourism to provide non-collateral, low-interest small loans and technical support to women in rural Vietnam to help them start their own businesses for sustainable income. This project which is now in its 5th year served as the beginnings for Authenticitys. In the meantime, it has been exciting to see that the that social and positive tourism has begun to emerge in different cities through different types of organisations. Elena with the support of many volunteers has identified their challenges: tracking impact and getting clients: Authenticitys was born to further support travel and social change.

Team

Elena Rodríguez Blanco, CEO, Founder (full-time): Co-founder Bloom Microventures and Anoderworld . MBA Bocconi, MSc in Development Management (LSE). Focus areas: Business sustainability and scalability, Business development Sandra Schoeber, COO (full-time): MSc in Management, Innovation-Entrepreneurship from ESADE. Focus areas: Strategic positioning, product and service innovation and design, operations and client/user experience management. Toni Ripoll i Roig, Developer (part-time): Site platform development. Past projects: The Social Coin, Mobdala, Piece of Pie. Our advisors include: Philipp Haydn, co-founder TripWolf, Nikolaus Hutter, Co-Founder Investment Ready Program and Ivan Caballero, Co-founder The Social Coin. We are looking for a partner CTO and a growth hacker that can further support the team in the technological side.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Through the local ecosystem

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I have co-founded two social enterprises previous to Authenticitys and think of myself as a dedicated social entrepreneur with a deep conviction that this is the path forward. For more than 6 years I have been part of the social innovation ecosystem not only as an entrepreneur but also putting it forward through education: having created the first pre-idea social accelerator in Spain (http://barcelona.startuppirates.org/), and now through the Authenticitys Challenge (http://authenticitys.com/en/challenge/) where I have worked with over 1000 students from different universities. However, my social entrepreneurship experience has been the one of most profound change:
1. Bloom Microventures (www.bloom-microventures.org): A social enterprise Bloom Microventures is pioneering a unique business model which harnesses the power of tourism through microcredit. We have been one of the first social enterprises working in the tourism sector. This initiative is now ran by two local women and has supported thousands of women in their microbusinesses and educated travellers for the past 5 years,
2. Anoderwold (www.anoderwold.com): with the mission to democratise social innovation was a consultancy that worked closely with the growing social innovation ecosystem in Barcelona and Spain.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We are currently a part of the Impact hub Scaling Program, where we are harnessing the Impact Hubs around 8 European cities to scale. We also work closely with Turisme Sant Igansi and ESADE Business School university and invite the students to be part of some of our challenges. Our advisors include: Iván Caballero, founder of the Social Coin, Nikolaus Hutter, Co-founder of the Investment Ready programme of the Impact Hub Vienna, and founder of New Paradigm ventures , Daniela Freund, from the responsible tuourism observatory in HTSI and Philipp Haydn, co-founder of TripWolf and expert in the tourism sector and impact investor. We are part of several social innovation communities where we learn and support each other such as the Theory U Lab, Dragon Dreaming Communitiy, Team Academy MTA Labs, and Makesense community.