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Total 79 companies invested

How to Digitize Right: How WeGoTrip Digitized the Industry of Guided Tours

Alexander Golovaty, the CEO of WeGoTrip, shares the story of their marketplace for self-guided audio tours. How many pivots does it take to find a product-market fit? How do you grow in a guided tour market paralyzed by COVID? Does a "virtual tour" app really need VR? And how do digital tour marketplaces empower local experts to generate passive revenue?

WeGoTrip Today

WeGoTrip is a US-based marketplace for self-guided audio tours. It connects travelers with guides, local experts, and museums.

For travelers, we provide an app that allows traveling accompanied by self-guided tours, including tickets without boring guides, crowds of tourists, and long lines to attractions.
For local experts and guides, the tour-makers, we provide a Content Management System (CMS) to manage their tours and earn income.

Business highlights:

  • 250+ cities and towns in 30+ countries and regions with WeGoTrip listings.
  • 750+ active self-guided audio tours worldwide.
  • 100,000+ active travelers all-time.
  • 200+ active guides on WeGoTrip, having earned $200,000+ all-time.
Our business is sound and growing, we survived COVID, expanded to the global market and raised 900k$ investments in 2022. And we had to go a long way to get there.

Company's Inception

Since 2015, my co-founders and I had the idea of creating a platform for city quests. We launched in 2016 while still studying.

By then, we lacked experience and made plenty of mistakes. The main one was starting with product development instead of researching the market and building a compelling business model, among other things. Nevertheless, we started to see some success.

In 2017, we took a leap of faith, quit our jobs, and fully committed to the new project.


By mid-2018, we realized our problems due to choosing the market niche of city quests. Quest-based activities typically don’t have a big audience and they didn’t generate significant revenue in the B2C segment. This inevitably pushed us towards selling to companies who were ready to pay for quests as corporate events. But this didn't appeal to us. The corporate events market has poor scalability, is very season-dependent, and creates a dependency on several main clients. Moreover, each sale required manual efforts, making it more project-oriented than product-oriented. Our dream was to build a large international business that could sustain itself.

We saw potential in targeting tourists as our audience. However, 54% of travelers in new destinations wanted to visit major attractions first, and only when they had time and money did they explore niche themes such as street art, hidden places, and eventually quest tours. The quest market was smaller compared to the market for museums and major attractions.

We needed a pause to reassess. We secured some investments, which allowed us to pivot and enter the global market in early 2019.

The Beginning of WeGoTrip

Our first pivot involved transitioning from quests to the tourism market: we decided to build a marketplace for quest tours. After some testing, we made a second pivot from quest tours to recorded self-guided audio tours.

We thoroughly researched the market, analyzed over 1,000 reviews of our competitors. We found high demand for self-guided tours because group tours are generally inconvenient. There are issues with delays and coordination among participants. Based on the feedback, we identified the key problems in the market and started developing a product to address them.
In 2019, we launched WeGoTrip, a marketplace for booking self-guided audio tours. We found product-market fit, and within the first week, we achieved more sales than in the previous six months. To independently experiment with content, we also offered audio tours on other marketplaces. This allowed us to focus on testing content-related hypotheses without worrying about sales and marketing.

One of our signature features emerged from a conversation with a customer. They had purchased a tour to the catacombs of Paris and mentioned, "It would be great if you could also provide entrance tickets to the catacombs." That's when we realized, audio tours should be sold with tickets right away! Surprisingly, no one else was doing it that way. Now, our customers won’t have to worry about waiting in line or navigating museum websites in search of the right ticket. In one app, we provided them with both the content (the tour) and skip-the-line entry.

Sales skyrocketed. By 2019, we worked with 56 museum tours in 15 European cities. We turned a profit and started earning several months in advance.


In 2020, we were planning to secure investment funding, but COVID-19 essentially collapsed the deal. When the pandemic came, we lost all sales in a week. We divided the team into two. One team continued working on WeGoTrip, while the other shifted focus to a B2B project for companies. It turned out that there was a high demand for quests during COVID because employees were burning out at home while their children needed entertainment. This project supported us during the pandemic.

In October 2020, in Russia, museums had reopened, but conducting guided tours was not allowed. Self-guided audio tours became the only service that could be used in museums. This gave us new growth in the Russian market, helped us overcome the crisis, and allowed us to test many hypotheses we could implement in other locations worldwide once the restrictions were lifted. For example, we tried audio tours not only for walking but also for driving or cycling.

At the beginning of 2021, the team established new quality standards for tours and launched the prototype of the WeGoTrip CMS (Content Management System). This made it a full-fledged marketplace, enabling us to invite content creators, local experts, and guides, to join the platform. We reached 352 tours in 75 cities worldwide.

In 2022, we launched over 650 tours in 200+ cities around the world in English and Russian. Over 34,000 travelers purchased WeGoTrip audio tours. We established partnerships with over 20 partners, including Booking.com, Tripadvisor, and Airbnb.

Investments and Financial Growth

In 2020, our revenue was around 80,000 euros, in 2021, it reached 360,000. This traction allowed us to present an attractive offer to investors.

In 2021, we raised $220,000 in pre-seed investments to enter new markets and refine the product. We aimed to expand our range of tours in the global market, enabling growth and the addition of new partners. We anticipated incurring losses during scaling, accelerating, and then becoming profitable again.

We made this and achieved operational profitability in July 2022. Since our model proved successful, and we understood how to continue growing, we secured an additional $900,000 in investments in 2022 from Joint Journey.

Future Development

Right now we aim to launch content in German, Spanish, and French, which will expand our sales geography. We also plan to further develop our own direct sales channels.

Regarding the overall development of our industry, we see interesting trends. After COVID-19, there has been a shift towards safe experiences: contactless, crowd-free, and based on self-service. The need for self-guided tours is now recognized by everyone, and it is discussed at events. However, there is a lack of understanding of how to effectively implement this. We started before the pandemic and have already experienced some failures before succeeding. Our key insight is that in this market, you don't win with fancy features. You need to offer a simple and intuitive functionality that the customer seamlessly receives without constantly looking at their phone. Conversely, newcomers try to integrate VR into their apps, and that doesn’t resonate with users. We tried that, we failed, and we now know how it’s done right.

Another aspect is how the market for content creators changes with the emergence of a platform for self-guided tours. Professional guides and tour operators can take their existing content and repackage it into an online experience for travelers, selling it in any volume through ready-made sales channels and earning royalties. Creating 10 tours can earn you $1,000 of passive income per month. Entire companies are emerging that are exclusively focused on a tour marketplace, similar to vendors of products for Amazon or AliExpress in retail. On the other hand, even those who were not previously involved in the travel market but are skilled at creating content, such as journalists, architects, historians, cultural experts, photographers, can now create online experiences and reach a wide audience of travelers.

Founder's Advice

Do the product as late as you can: Maybe now it’s commonplace, but it’s still the experience we gained from our first product. You can earn a lot from promoting an idea without even developing the product. Develop the product as late as possible. Crowdfunding platforms, landing page builders, prototype development platforms allow you to test demand and find product-market fit without building your product blindly.

Don't overestimate your ability to hire: It wasn't obvious, but hiring turned out to be a bottleneck. It was much more challenging to find smart people, and they were more expensive than we anticipated.

AI is the new black: Soon, having an AI in your product will be as default as having a website. Startups without AI simply won't survive.

Rely on your sales partners cautiously: We didn't develop our sales channels for too long. We relied too heavily on partners. When we lost several major partners, we had to quickly learn how to build our own sales channels. Eventually, we assembled and launched our growth team. For several months now, our sales have been growing at a rate of over 2x month over month.