Are you looking for another app to help you find beautiful places while you travel? Backdrop is a photo-sharing and social media app that combines tech, travel, and social media.
After conversations with friends, Timilehin Ajiboye was intrigued by the idea of creating a travel app.
A friend asked Ajiboye if he knew any platforms that would help her find beautiful, new places to eat, visit, and take photos. He and his friends then went on a Miami trip and actively searched for beautiful places to eat, and to take photos.
This is a clear indication that these needs are very insatiable. Backdrop isn't unlike other social media platforms around the world that allow users to upload ephemeral images, share their lives on disappearing stories, and discover millions of personal short videos.
Social media has had a profound impact on how we communicate and connect over the past decade. It has also changed how our travel arrangements are made.
Statista reports that more than 36% of social media users use platforms to share travel ideas. More than 60% of them also share photos of their trips.
While Instagram is the most popular platform for traffic, Ajiboye feels that the process of finding travel-related information has become extremely time-consuming. He believes that niche platforms are needed because of the advent of large platforms such as Instagram, which can explore any type content.
Instagram acts as an operating system for photos. Instagram is the hub for all things beauty, travel, and e-commerce. In an interview, he stated that the same applies to Pinterest. You'll see that these platforms are increasingly used by some people for travel. However, there haven't been any travel experiences that take into account 2021. This is because people love to take photos in front of beautiful places and share them with their friends.
Ajiboye created the name Backdrop, and reached out two of his friends, Damilola Odufuwa, and Odunayo Oweniyi to help build the platform and make it a company.
Travel and social media
There is currently no one platform that can help you find beautiful places. Backdrop was founded by the founders to help with travel discovery and this is what Backdrop does best.
Tourists visiting Dubai for the first time and looking for trendy places will do three things: ask friends and acquaintances, Google search and enter a hashtag on Instagram.
Odufuwa stated that everything will come up if you do a Google search and use Instagram. You might not find pink restaurants in Dubai if you use Instagram. Backdrop makes it possible.
Backdrop allows users to discover and share stunning places to take photos based on their interests. Backdrop is a travel companion for Gen Zs and millennials who are obsessed with beautiful places and want to travel after the pandemic.
Each backdrop's key information includes the opening and closing times, address (linked with Google Maps), cost and entrance fee (if any), Wi Fi availability, pet policy and outdoor seating.
TechCrunch interviewed a few Backdrop beta-users. Two camps emerged based on their interests. The Collection feature allows users to save backgrounds, combining Google Maps with Pinterest. Some people love it. Others prefer the Explore feature. They view it as a mix of Google Maps, Instagram and Google Maps.
Users can use hashtags to find specific places. The Backdrop Near Me feature lets them discover other places that are close to their current Backdrop location.
A photo research team from the company searches for these locations in 26 cities around the world. They also take photos and enter the relevant information for each backdrop.
Backdrop won't comment on how many users are in beta. However, its founders claim that they have collected thousands of photos from these cities: Amsterdam and Dubai, Istanbul, London. Los Angeles, New York. Seoul. Paris. Tokyo. San Francisco. Chicago. Las Vegas. Miami. Marrakech. Fez. Tangier. Rabat. Cancun. Cabo. Tulum. Lagos. Abuja. Madrid. Each city has an average of 100-300 pictures.
Backdrop understands that having a dedicated team for uploading pictures is not sustainable in the long-term. Backdrop allows users to upload their own backdrops and provide the information. The platform allows users to review other users' posts and give them upvotes or downvotes. You can also rate other users and earn points to help build the community.
Ajiboye explained that this is how we tried to shift from curating backdrops to letting the community choose the backdrops that make it onto the platform.
Crowdsourcing votes for content, or in this case backdrops, can be a democratic way to ensure that the top search results are not always the best. We also try to determine if the information we have is correct.
Backdrop has plans to expand to 20 additional cities this year, and has secured a six figure family-and friends round to scale the product. The three founders are familiar with the phrase "Scale comes with more responsibility", which they have come to accept over the years.
The three met six years ago at Zikoko, an Africa-focused youth publication. Their careers in digital media and tech grew from there.
Odufuwa is the Backdrop CEO and leads Binance's PR in Africa. Along with Eweniyi who is Backdrops COO, she is the co-founder and co-founder of Feminist Coalition. This is a Nigerian-based group that advocates for women's rights.
Eweniyi also serves as the COO of PiggyVest which is one of Nigeria's most popular fintech platforms.
CTO Ajiboye, the executive and technical chief at Sendcash, a crypto-powered remittance platform that uses crypto and YC-backed cryptocurrency platforms Buycoins, is also known as CTO Ajiboye.
Build a global product
Although the founders have been involved in several ventures, their focus has remained primarily on Africa and Nigeria. Backdrop, however, is very different. The target market for Backdrop is global. So I had to ask the founders: Were they able to focus and manage the company?
Odufuwa replied that running a global business is no different. Each founder has been involved in multiple ventures and will be able to add Backdrop to their portfolio.
We [GenZs and millennials] are great at juggling, I believe. Even though it can be exhausting and stressful, it is possible to learn how to juggle. But I am 100% committed.
Ajiboye said that although the founders are excellent leaders and great team players, they must also build a global team in order to sustain the company over the long-term.
Ajiboye joked that people have done more complicated things at the same time.
Social media platforms have a reputation for being hyper-focused on user growth, rather than making profits or revenue. Backdrop is one of few social media platforms that was built in Africa and has a chance at catching on with a global audience.
If it gains significant traction, founders have ideas for how the platform will generate revenue. They cite advertising, reservations, private and public tourism, as well as revenue from content creators and bookings.
Ajiboye stated that there are many opportunities for travel content creation and discovery. It is important that there is a community and that our early users shape the platform. Growth is our priority right now. We believe there are many ways to make money.