MADE IT: Tom Charman of KOMPAS

MADE IT: Tom Charman of KOMPAS

BQ caught up with Tom Charman of travel app KOMPAS, to discuss how he got started in business, what makes his business different, and how he was inspired by attending MADE Festival last year...

What does your company do?

KOMPAS is revolutionising the way we travel through the use of artificial intelligence. This never-been-done before solution in travel itineraries, allows us to present tailored recommendations, relevant reviews, and a hassle free way of getting around a city. We’re making travelling personal, easy and enjoyable, while getting to know your preferences when travelling. Help friends explore the cities you know best, and take advantage of tips provided by seasoned travellers worldwide. Explore the true personality of each city, and find things you know you’ll enjoy.

Street murals, rooftop cocktail bars, underground passages and low-key jazz bars are just a few of the unique things you can expect to find. We use smart algorithms and deep learning, to understand who you really are.


What is your role?

I’m one of the co-founders of KOMPAS, and am the appointed CEO. This sees me working with clients, investors and a number of other interested parties. I work heavily on explaining and envisioning the company journey, and how we believe what we’re doing will impact society.


What was the inspiration behind starting up?

After living in Munich, and facing the problems with travelling and exploring personally, I wanted to make it easier for people to move around a city, learn about its culture and have the best possible experience. One of my co-founders and I, decided that the best way to do this, would be a simple website, that has since transformed into a mobile application, equipped with artificially intelligent algorithms to truly personalise the industry, and make travel easy, fun and unique.


Did you receive any support in setting up the business?

We received support form the University of Exeter (2 of the team are Alumni), and from various mentors and advisors who have now formed a highly skilled board of advisors. Having previously started a company, I was able to call upon contacts who are experienced in the travel industry, as well as those with general experience in the business and startup world.


How has MADE inspired you?

Attending MADE 2015, gave me the opportunity to hear from speakers that are experts in their fields, and understand the importance of the role they play in the company. For me, MADE inspired me to build a brand that people could both connect with and understand. Hearing from representatives from both Microsoft and Innocent, helped me realise how important it is to understand your market, and how to develop your product to meet the needs of that particular market.


What have you done in business since MADE 2015?

Since attending MADE 2015, we’ve developed our product, refined it and build a strong audience that are ready to get involved with what we’re doing. We recently launched, and welcomed the first group of people onto the platform and build a community of people that believe in what we do. I’ve also been personally mentoring for a number of organisations, hoping to help others in business work towards their goals.


What are some of your biggest achievements since MADE 2015?

Lots has happened since we visited MADE 2015. To name a few, we’ve launched the mobile application on iOS devices and built a 26,000 strong community, we represented the United Kingdom at the world finals of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Thailand, we were named TYA Best Startup Idea and were nominated for the Accenture Digital Innovation Award, we’ve been featured as one of the 9 travel-tech applications to write home about 2016, and we were featured in Disrupts magazine. Most importantly, our team has grown from 2 to 6, and we’re continually working on developing a product that our customers love, and continue to use.


Why do you think other people should attend MADE?

 People should attend MADE, as it gives them a way to find inspiration for what they’re doing, as well as hear from industry experts, and the problems that they’ve overcome. MADE gives people the opportunity to hear from people who are passionate about what they do, but also network with like minded individuals. By attending MADE, there’s the opportunity to meet new business partners, create new opportunities, and find inspiration in a whole new way.


What were the benefits of attending MADE for you?

We were able to refine our branding, and make sure that we’re suited to a market that understands what we do as a result of attending MADE. The inspiration behind the ‘Innocent’ branding, has made it easier for us as a team to understand just how important it is to understand our target customer. MADE inspired me to not only work on building a product that creates positive social impact, but also work on helping others reach their full potential, which is why I continue to mentor people of all backgrounds in business.


What are your plans for the future?

We aim to release our application to Android users, and continue to develop our product to be the best possible solution to our users and customers. We’re seeking to dominate the UK and German markets, before then looking at expanding further across Europe, to make sure that as many people as possible can benefit from our mobile application. We want to revolutionise the travel industry, and make sure that the individual, is put first. We’re doing that, through the use of personalisation. We’re your pocket guide, to the world’s urban jungles.