Today we’d like to introduce you to Lizia Santos.
Lizia, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
City Catt started out of my frustration as a mom and journalist when trying to find information to plan family trips. Most of the posts and travel stories that come up in a google search are sponsored and direct travelers to pre-packaged attractions. If you’re looking to have a very authentic local experience, it’s very hard to find the right information in order to plan accordingly before you get to your destination.
I created City Catt to be the middleman between travelers and screened knowledgeable locals. It’s a safe way for travelers to get helped by locals with creating an itinerary that’s based on their expectations, tastes and limitations. As a mom, it was important to me that the platform was a safe, family-friendly and affordable alternative to hiring concierges or unverified guides in the internet.
We started by recruiting locals in six focus cities: Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, NY. All locals must be micro-influencers on Instagram and have a history of posting photos around their cities. This way, travelers can verify their knowledge and choose a local to help them based on their common affinities.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely not! Because I’m not a developer myself, this was the first struggle I had. I had an idea that was technology-based, but no way to make it without spending a lot of money. I was able to find an early investor and selected an overseas company to develop our app. They ended up giving up on the project before it was finished. This forced us to pivot, and now we have a much more scalable and refined product.
There were many other bumps on the road. But I’d say the most important treat of a founder, and the founding team as well is resilience to keep changing/pivoting!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about City Catt – what should we know?
City Catt helps travelers plan unique trips with the help of knowledgeable and screened local Instagram influencers in their destination. We also offer a Social Trip Planner where you can invite friends/family to help you plan a trip. These could be people joining you on the trip, or people who’ve been to your destination before and could contribute to your planning with exclusive information.
We’re different because we don’t sell any pre-packaged attraction packages or charge premium fees for concierge services. We’re all about providing a personalized experience, where travelers interact one-o-one with the influencer they choose to build a trip plan around their expectations, preferences and needs. And all of this for a very affordable price. We’re currently recruiting more local influencers in Miami! If you’d like to join us and earn by helping travelers plan trips filled with authentic Miami experiences, signup on our website.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Resilience to change and willingness to learn to me are the most important traits of anybody that dares to choose the entrepreneurial life. I love the quote by Marie Forleo, that says, “the key to success is to start before you’re ready.” I agree completely, as it keeps you humble, and forces you to keep learning better ways to do things.
- Basic Trip Planner – Free
- Premium Trip Planner – $3.99/month or $37.99/year
- Plan with a City Catt (local IG Influencers) – $75 per itinerary (up to 7 days of planning)
- Website: www.citycatt.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/citycatts
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/citycatts
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/citycatts
- Other: www.pinterest.com/citycatts
Lizia Santos (Co-Founder and CEO) / Lis Sommerville (the one with gray hair) Co-Founder and COO / Anna Mestrinho, Co-Founder and CIO / Miami Babson WINLab