A chat with Ben and Lisa Simpson, co-founders of travel-tech startup: Easol

Traditionally, the challenge for experience creators when starting and growing their business has been to tie multiple third-party tools together for key aspects of their business. From building and hosting their website to taking bookings and managing payments, multiple tools are often loosely grouped, giving experience creators little control and ultimately lost revenue.

We reimagined e-commerce for experiences – Easol is an experience commerce platform purpose-built for experience creators, putting the technology, ownership and opportunity in their hands. We now help experience creators worldwide from wellness retreats, festivals, sports, tour operators, conferences and more to launch and grow their business seamlessly and on their terms.

Portfolio of terms: Easol

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

We started building Easol in 2017 after 10 years previously running a company called Rough Hill, which was the UK’s largest events company. We sold over 2 million tickets a year – and we’ve grown that number across the UK and Europe. After that, in 2014 we started a winter music and snow sports festival called Rise, which now has 10,000 visitors every year.

When we built Rise we sold so many items like tickets, ski passes, airport transfers to different countries with different types of accommodation, packages, snowboard lessons (and the list goes on). It got incredibly complicated and we ended up running the event across multiple different platforms: the frontend website, the payment platform, the ticketing platform, one for accommodation, one for transportation. On top of that we were paying huge fees to all these third party platforms where they often withheld our money until after the event which led to further problems in paying suppliers.

Meanwhile, all around us, we saw really exciting entrepreneurs emerging, creating experiences based on their passions. Being in a community of inspiring people with tremendous potential fueled our frustration with the lack of tools available to create those experiences – so we decided to start building the dream platform we wished for our own experiences business and more.

You just raised $25 million from Tiger Global – what are you going to do with the money?

We’ve seen strong growth over the past year, especially after such a challenging time when travel and restrictions have impacted the experience economy. Since our $4.5M seed round in 2020, we’ve increased the number of developers on Easol by 913%.

With this new funding, we expect to further triple that growth in 2022, and we look to expand our team across our London headquarters, Lisbon and US offices. We also want to invest heavily in product development, with more new and exciting tools that experience creators can use to drive their own growth.

How has the company fared during the pandemic? How have you supported your customers?

It has certainly been a challenging time for us and our creators. However, our focus has been on helping our community of Experience Creators retain their customers, introduce new features to manage shifts, offer flexible payment options, process bookings seamlessly, and communicate transparently and effectively with their customers to help them keep.

We also published a Better Days are Coming trend report, featuring insights from 3,000 consumers on how they want to travel in 2021 and beyond, as well as tips and ideas on how to stay successful despite the pandemic. A chat with Ben and Lisa Simpson, co-founders of travel-tech startup: Easol

Fry Electronics Team

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