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Philippe Willi, co-founder TrekkSoft, Swisspreneur Podcast
EP #202 - Philippe Willi: Don't Fool Yourself

Philippe Willi

November 18, 2021
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4:14 - The business model of uploading old exams onto a server

17:19 - Winning clients with basic functionalities

28:51 - Acquiring competitors

32:47 - Using investor money for acquisitions

49:20 - Your main competitor is yourself

About Philippe Willi

Philippe Willi is a co-founder and CFO/COO at TrekkSoft, a booking solution for the tour and activities market. He studied business administration at HSG and soon after started his first business, the web agency zimtkorn, together with DeinDeal co-founder Adrian Locher and Valentin Binnedijk. There they built websites for SMEs.

In 2007 he met Jon Fauver, a former raft guide and American living in Switzerland, who invited Philippe to join him at the water sports company Outdoor Interlaken. Then in 2010, Philippe and his old co-founder Valentin started TrekkSoft, as a booking solution for Outdoor Interlaken. They even put in their own money, to ensure they really had skin in the game.

TrekkSoft's main innovative feature was its "book now" button — though nowadays it seems absolutely obvious, this button was at the time quite revolutionary.

Philippe describes finding product-market fit as a moment when things suddenly just click, and you can stop relying solely on assumptions. However, Trekksoft's whole addressable market was rather large, so this product-market fit was only truly valid for certain market segments. Since trying to address the whole market with just one service seemed too risky to them, they opted instead for acquiring a number of competitors which addressed other market segments, and used investor money to do so.

Being in the travel industry, the TrekkSoft Group was hit hard by Corona. Though one company in their group made 1M in net profit in 2020, the group overall lost 30% of its revenue (which put them close to breakeven) and had to let go of a number of employees. Several other employees left of their own accord due to the lack of immediate careers prospects.

Memorable Quotes:

"Solving your own problem means product-market fit comes easier. But it also might result in conflicts of interest."

Resources Mentioned:

Weg zum erfolgreichen Unternehmer, by Stefan Merath

The Entrepreneurial Operating System

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