When he was 10 years old, Tedd Evers took his first trip abroad. Sure, he and his family had taken several trips before (with his father at the helm of their family car), but that experience at the airport continues to resonate with him to this day. “I loved all of it…just the entire experience of going to JFK [airport] and seeing all those people from around the world. It was just this sense of, ‘What’s down there? I want to check it out,’” says Evers.
“I believe above all consumers want control…I’ll do the filtering, thanks. Just make it easier, and give me a balance of curation and choice. That’s the big idea behind TripTuner.”
Evers is the founder of TripTuner, a trip recommendation platform that helps users find ideal travel experiences based on their varying preferences. “Varying,” here, is the key word, as one of TripTuner’s primary competitive features is its patent-pending, fine-tune, preference sliders. A Harvard man with some previous experience as a radio DJ, Evers recounts a time when he could perfectly tune an equalizer to his precise liking – an analogy that has obviously been applied to TripTuner’s design.
“We often see hilarious names like, ‘I hate this family 2013′…’you go girl’ and ‘zigga zigga WHATT’,'” says Evers on TripTuner’s saved sliders function.
Do you want to go somewhere that’s more “active” or someplace that’s a bit more “relaxing,” such as a “beach” or “mountain” environment? Simply slide the tuners, and then images of matching destination options instantly appear – absolutely no typing necessary. The tuned sliders can then be saved for future reference. The entire search experience itself is simple and, honestly, pretty fun.
Since that moment at JFK, Evers has gone on to explore more than 65 countries spanning 6 continents, and has spent most of his career in the travel industry. Aside from playing professional basketball in Germany (yes, this is a thing that he has actually done), Evers has previously lived in Barcelona, spending more than 10 years leading the global hotels business at eDreams.com, a major European online travel site. Prior to TripTuner, he managed hotel chain partnerships in Europe and the Caribbean for Travelocity.
“Ultimately, humans crave connections more than they do data. [TripTuner] provides relevant information without [users] having to invest so much time on work and research…[We] want to bring more of an emotional experience to the [travel] search process.”
At 32, Evers temporarily left his job with eDreams, and spent that entire year traveling the world. “I found it hard where to [stay] and just figuring out a lot of basic information [on his travel destinations],” remarks Evers on what eventually became the driving principle behind TripTuner. Withal, the experience remains to be one of his most valuable – Evers enthusiastically recalling the times he spent as a guest in various people’s homes, connecting with them despite the cultural divides.
As to whether he should’ve cut his time in the corporate world and thrown himself into startup life, Evers notes:
“It would [have been] nice to [pursue this startup] even sooner in life. But I have no regrets whatsoever and wouldn’t trade if for the very fortunate set of compelling distractions and experiences I’ve had.”
TripTuner was featured at last month’s DC Tech Cocktail Mixer and Startup Showcase, where it won “Best Pitch” for the night (consequently motivating Evers to rap). They will be pitching, this week, at Tech Cocktail Celebrate.