Thanks for joining for another episode of the OpenWorld podcast. Today I’m joined by Johannes Koeppel, a long-term nomad and wanderer who with two friends created a travel startup, WeTravel.

Johannes Koeppel, founder of WeTravel, on the OpenWorld podcast.

Johannes has a pretty inspirational story around travel, entrepreneurship, and changing your life. Out of college, he moved from his native Switzerland to Central Asia to work for the Red Cross first in a prison facility in Uzbekistan, then as head of the Tajikistan office. While living there for 3 years, he began to organize group tours for Europeans hoping to explore Central Asia off the beaten path.

This became the seed of an idea for a startup, and now WeTravel is an 11 person team speaking 22 languages and representing 8 different nationalities. Anyone can sign up on the site and earn a living or extra side hustle doing similar things across the globe.

WeTravel’s growth has been phenomenal, within a year and a half it has organized more than one million in tours just this month.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Johannes’ adventures in off-the-beaten countries around the globe, his motivation for adventure travel, and how he’s funded his trips – starting with selling Yo-Yos on the street during his youth
  • Lessons learned from working with political prisoners in Central Asia – and how he started a business on the side – which became his main venture
  • How his platform grew so quickly to more than 1 million in transactions in a month after just a year and a half after launch
  • How his team achieved its “product / market fit” based on early user testing (applicable to any type of business)
  • How WeTravel helps travel-lovers become entrepreneurs
  • How anyone can take advantage of the rise of the “sharing economy” to start a side business, or just live beyond their means
  • Plus a bunch more!

Hope you enjoy this interview with Johannes! If you enjoy our podcast, show your appreciation by leaving us a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute and makes a big difference.

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