Viktor Engborg

Co-founder of Globified

In this interview with Swedish brothers Patrik (left) and Viktor Engborg (right) we'll take a look at Globified which is a new web service to keep your friends and family in the loop while traveling.

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

I'm Viktor, a 23 year old designer from Stockholm, Sweden. I currently work full-time at a web agency, which makes the hours working with Globified less than I want to. Let's see how that turns out.

What is Globified, who's behind it, and how did it get started?

Globified was created together with my older brother Patrik, who is the developer. So we're two guys making this, you can see why I want more time? Anyway, I can start by telling you a short story about why we built Globified.

A couple of years ago, we (me and my brother) were out traveling for three months in Central America, and wanted a good blog to go with it for all our friends to read. We couldn't find a single good web service that would fit our needs, which led us to make a custom blog together with an interactive map so everybody could follow our track. A simple blog wouldn't cut it. Shortly after we can home, we thought - are we the only backpackers with this problem? That's how it started.

Could you talk a little bit more about why existing web services didn't fit your needs and how Globified will?

The features we wanted when we pictured the perfect travel log web service simply weren't there. Seeing an activity log on the start page, seeing your own whole journey with a journey archive for previous trips, sharing jour journeys with other friends on your trip (so you don't have to have a shared account; an upcoming feature), and more stuff we want did not exist. Similar services are also to difficult to use, therefore we wanted to build our own. We're on the right path.

About our map, it's an easy way to show that people are writing, arriving somewhere or uploading pictures everywhere on earth. We think it's a fun way on showing that our service is global and social and that anyone can be inspired and even comment users activity.

Are friends and family able to leave comments as well? Or is it just a one-way communication channel?

You can actually comment every journey entry, everything from check-in's to an uploaded photo album, and in three ways. 1. Being a member. 2. Connected to Facebook. 3. By name/email.

Will there be community-features too, or does each and every 'journey scrapbook' simply stand on its own?

There will be community features, such as the possibility to follow trips or users. The reason we haven't implemented it yet is simply because we wanted to see how people use the site first, and not rush things and features. Also we're still in an early stage and the current version of Globified is only the core. But we do have many ideas and some really exciting features that will be added in the near future. One of the prioritized ideas is to make an app that goes along with the site. We realize this is a need, so you'll likely to see an app soon enough.

Are you planning on integrating with existing apps such as Foursquare as well? I can imagine this would remove the immediate need for your own app.

We have thought of integrating third-party services such as Gowalla and Foursquare, but not the other way around actually. We also want to see how Facebook Places develops and it's impact on these services first. We'll see.

What will Globified's revenue model look like?

We have discussed this topic a lot, since we don't want to be one of those sites that launch without even having considered a revenue model. So we think we will make Globified a paid service, but a very cheap one. Everyone else can of course browse around for free. The only thing we haven't really decided is if we will use a freemium or a trial model. We will have to make up our minds on that before the beta period is over.

Have you thought about finding an investment? It may not be a replacement for a revenue model in the long-term, but may allow you to start working full-time on Globified.

Of course. A half year in with Globified we went searching for investment, but with a product not yet finished it was difficult. It would be awesome being able to work with Globified full-time without outside investment, but we realize this may be hard doing this longterm and full-time without income. Also, the US investor market is a lot wider and better. You know any good ones?

Not personally, but I know there are quite a few investors and VC partners reading these interviews so if anyone is interested they can contact you here.

Where would you like to see Globified in 5 years time?

First of all, we would both love working with Globified full-time. To make that possible, it all comes down to making a successful revenue model. If we get lucky and all goes according to our plan, we hope to have made Globified a pretty well-known brand in five years. The service people will use if they're out traveling and want to share their stories and memories, or find tips and and info about places you're about to visit. That would be awesome.

I take it this is you and your brother's first startup. How has the experience been so far? What do you like and what do you dislike?

It's actually not our first startup. We started a small web app three years ago called Önskelista (Wishlist in Swedish) for people to send their wishlists to family and friends. It was and still is a really cool project, but we haven't spent time on it in a while.

The experience with Globified has been similar to what Önskelista was at the beginning for. Exciting and with a lot of potential. The difference is that when Önskelista was launched, that was pretty much it at that time. We had all the features we wanted and just wanted to let the service grow by itself. With Globified there's a ton of potential. We have a gazillion of ideas to make reality. And now when the excitement of the launch has let go a bit, we're ready to make these ideas happen.

Thanks for taking the time answering my questions Viktor. I wish you both the best of luck with Globified!

Interested in checking out Globified? Visit the site.