This post is written by Colette Grgic co-founder of Aribaa.comEight months ago when we first had the idea for Arribaa we thought we were bloody brilliant. Having experienced much difficulty the prior two years in finding really authentic experiences while we were traveling seemed like such a pain without any solution that we thought our idea for an experiences marketplace (it actually started off as freelance local guides for developing countries) was surely the most unique thing you’ve ever heard of – Ever.
At that time, we were finding it really difficult to even articulate our idea, encumbered by the fact that this was a new concept that took a lot of “switched-on-ness” to grasp – you know, “the revolution is coming” and all those jazzy sort of phrases. For example, try explaining to somebody who has never heard of AirBnB before that people will actually pay to stay in a stranger’s house, or that people will be willing to let complete strangers into their homes… unguarded! Insanity, right? That’s what it felt like for us: people grasped our enthusiasm, somewhat understood our big vision, doubted the viability of the project and not a single person uttered the words “oh yea, have you heard of these guys?”. We thought we were on virgin land – we had to reinvent the wheel and it was scary and exciting….
…and quite lonely. It’s hard work trying to shift a paradigm. But we had seen and experienced so much in those two years traveling that we knew a new concept (which we now know as Collaborative Consumption) was brewing all over the world, and we knew it was only a matter of time before it sprouted in Australia. All we had to do was not die before more people snapped on to it.
Three months ago we moved to Sydney and really began working on Arribaa as something that we were determined to make a success. We had seen a number of other experience marketplaces being created all over the world and we knew that waiting for the wave to hit Australia wasn’t an option – we had to make that wave happen. Not dying wasn’t enough anymore, we had to make it happen right here, right now. Startups in the States and Europe were getting bucketloads of money thrown at them, but we were struggling to convince Australian investors that the concept was something to seriously consider (it was that whole “what? strangers in my house?!” mental block).
But we couldn’t wait. So two pivots and two close calls with Australian incubators later, we went to China instead for investment. You would think that convincing the Chinese that “the revolution is coming” would be pointless, but it wasn’t. They get it. In fact, they taught me a few things and I returned to Australia with our first investment and a much better understanding of our global potential.
I think it’s time that Australia stops looking to the States as the only major player for innovation and startup potential. I love living in Australia and it’s time we start really asking ourselves what capabilities and innovations we want to be known for globally. We have a strategic advantage being close to the powerhouse that Asia is becoming. And I think it’s time we pull our heads out of our asses to acknowledge and accept that.
Arribaa is a marketplace to create, discover and book unique experiences offered by passionate locals. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could spend more time discovering and doing what you love? Check out www.arribaa.com and experience something unique today.