JOE speaks to Rosie Mansfield about Go Cambio, the innovative start up business changing the way we learn and travel
In our latest installment of our conversations with innovative Irish start-ups, we speak to Rosie Mansfield, who is behind Go Cambio to get her views on all things business and start-up.
JOE: So tell us, what is GoCambio all about?
Rosie Mansfield: GoCambio connects people who want to travel for less and learn for less.
Our online platform connects people who want to travel and have a skill to share with people who have a spare room and the desire to learn or improve a skill. Guests and Hosts find each other on our website to arrange their ‘cambio’ (from the Spanish & Italian for exchange).
Our mission is to connect the millions of people who want to learn or improve the language they are learning with the millions of people who travel in search of unique experiences.
JOE: How did the business start and what inspired you to go on your own?
Rosie Mansfield: The idea for GoCambio came to siblings Deirdre Bounds & Ian O’Sullivan while walking along the cliffside in Ardmore in early 2014. They asked themselves why people paid so much money for language lessons abroad and talked about how difficult it was to even find a conversational language tutor. Together we set about solving this problem.
We knew that millions of people around the world wanted to improve their ability in speaking a foreign language. And we also knew that there are millions of people who travel independently each year.
By connecting these people, we knew that we could make a difference… make the world a little smaller, a little friendlier and a little smarter. GoCambio was created, a new way to travel & solve an age old, global problem of high priced tuition fees - whether it be for language, music or academic subjects.
JOE: You’re one of the rare and brave breed of young Irish entrepreneurs, do you think more Irish people should go out there on their own or is it a case-by-case basis?
Rosie Mansfield: About half of Dublin is currently working in some kind of startup right now. Ireland has an international reputation for strong entrepreneurial spirit and for being a hub of brave people willing to go out on their own. It’s another great feather in the cap for our awesome global brand.
Startup world isn’t easy though, so it’s not for everyone. You have to give it everything, and then a little bit more on top. It’s the hardest thing a lot of people will ever do but when it works – it’s the BEST!
JOE: What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting out on their own?
Rosie Mansfield: My tips:
· Brave, be bold and do it! (see @Startup_van for full interview)
· Focus on solutions and what they look like rather than the problem
· Find a great co-founder, someone to celebrate successes with and lean on in tough times
· Try not to freak out (much)
JOE: You have a blank cheque for a celebrity endorsement – who do you sign up and why?
Rosie Mansfield: I’d go for Rihanna because… Spanish Dave in our office was such a fan years ago that he started the first YouTube channel in 2007 in her honour.
It was one of the most popular YouTube channels in Spain – for real. When a recording company contacted him about getting a remix of a video and it was discovered it wasn’t the OFFICIAL channel, he was shut down (obvs). This would definitely make his day…
JOE: Who, in your opinion, is the greatest businessperson of all time and why?
Rosie Mansfield: James Stephen "Steve" Fossett: a record-setting aviator and adventurer. He was the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon.
He made his fortune in the financial services industry but was best known for his world records, including 5 nonstop circumnavigations of the Earth! Okay, so his business success was pretty classic but what a cool guy! If he was alive today he’d definitely be all over FinTech.
JOE: I imagine the social media sector is quite a crowded market, but just how competitive is it? Do you guys try to be different or attempt to stay on-trend?
Rosie Mansfield: For us, it’s all about actually being social and sharing the personality of our team members as well as our daily office lives. From Hugo making crêpes for the whole team for La Chandeleur, birthday buffets of celery and fruit to Dave’s crazy exercise routines we use social media to help people connect with us – real people!
JOE: What existing business impresses you most and why?
Rosie Mansfield: I love my grub (especially when someone else is cooking) so Vizeat, a meal-sharing platform is a favourite of mine right now. They are rocking in 60 countries and it’s a great way to share cultures and make new foody friends.
JOE: What does the future have in store for GoCambio?
Rosie Mansfield: World domination and pizza on Fridays…
We have big plans for our community and our focus for the future is on developing our technology and platform so that GoCambio members have the best experience.
The easier it is to find your perfect cambio, the more travel and skill-sharing will happen. We have over 6 months of scheduled technology releases as well as looking at app development. Currently we have members in 120 countries, I’m looking forward to raising a glass to our millionth new member.
JOE: How has business been? Is there a certain demographic you find really take to your business?
Rosie Mansfield: GoCambio appeals to all types of people. Guests are adventurous, usually younger, solo travellers who want to go off the beaten track and Hosts are more often families who are open and welcoming and want to experience new cultures as well as learn or improve something. That’s not to say we don’t have plenty of cambioers who buck the trend of course.