Phocuswright Europe: ‘Culture shock antedote app’ CultureMee seeks partners and seed funding

Phocuswright Europe: ‘Culture shock antedote app’ CultureMee seeks partners and seed funding

Cultural travel app CultureMee is seeking seed investment to establish it in the market.

Established by husband and wife team Dee and John Lee, the app claims to be the antedote to culture shock.

John Lee said the app has four key target customers: backpackers, students living abroad, expats and business travellers.

He pointed to the recent announcement of an $80 million finding round by Culture Trip as evidence that the cultural aspect of travel is a major trend.

“You can Google translate language but you can’t Google translate cultures,” he said.

“This is a really important moment for us. If you look at the world, it has never been more globalised but many countries are putting barriers up.

“There has never been a more important time to bring those barriers down.”

Lee cited a recent Visa travel intent survey that found visiting friends and family was the number one reason to travel followed by experiencing other cultures.

CultureMee covers 76 countries offering practical advice and cultural insights compiled by John and Dee.

They have just returned from a six-month trip to Asia following which they have been able to add 13 new countries to the app.

A full version of the app has been available since December, after an initial beta version went live in August last year, and to date it has had 2,000 downloads.

Referring to the analogy of how setting up a start-up is like trying to assemble an aircraft mid-flight, Dee said:

“We have assembled brilliant airline, we just need fuel on the one hand in terms of getting partnerships and also we need fuel in terms of investment.

“We are talking to investors about a seed round. We also need mentors to help guide us and to challenge us.”

CultureMee has a partnership with cultural consultancy Hofstede Insights for which it acts as a source of leads, but is looking to strike similar affiliate deals with travel firms.

“Our vision is that when people are thinking about where to travel they ask themselves what kind of culture do I want to experience,” said Dee.

To date CultureMee has been bootstrapped after the couple sold a property in Amsterdam where they used to work in the corporate world.

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