Sick and tired of the same repetitive hikes and treks?
Let your past adventures pave the way for brands new ones with Outdoor Ninja
To find out more behind how Outdoor Ninja got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Outdoor Ninja founder, Janisha Anand
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Outdoor Ninja founder Janisha Anand. Outdoor Ninja is an app that connects you with personally tailored adventures based on a set of variables and rewards you for your discoveries. Anand, has been an outdoor enthusiast for decades but, after countless journeys she found herself struggling to find new ideas for adventures. With much contemplation and coming from a background in machine learning, she soon found herself with a vision to create a resource for the wanderlust and adventure seekers a platform that would suggest adventures catered to those looking for a new trek or hike. The idea originally stemming from what Netflix and Amazon utilizes to suggest products or shows that might captivate you, all based around machine learning and and past purchases/views (in the case of Outdoor Ninja past experiences). Having JUST launched their crowdfunding, Outdoor Ninja is swiftly climbing the charts and is ready to make waves in the outdoor technology world.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out Outdoor Ninja’s website
- Learn more about how Outdoor Ninja works
- Help Outdoor Ninja reach their goal on iFundWomen
- Follow Outdoor Ninja on Facebook and Instagram
What is Outdoor Ninja all about?
“Outdoor ninja is basically a mobile app that rewards you for your outdoor discoveries. We have built an AI based outdoor adventure discovery platform that understands your adventure preferences, learns from your past experiences, evaluates your likes, dislikes, and inspirations, and provides with personalized recommendations for your next set of adventures…”
How did you come up with this idea?
“I’ve actually been an outdoor enthusiast myself pretty much all my life. What I realized is that all the solutions that I was using so far were basically search based, and tremendously time consuming and exhausting. So, I thought why not bring in what companies like Amazon and Netflix actually do into the outdoor adventure discovery space…”
What is your background in and how did you get started on shaping your idea?
“I actually have 12 years of experience in big data, machine learning, software engineering, AI and have worked with companies like Amazon, Oracle, and Cisco. I’m an outdoor lover myself so I thought why not apply this experience to solve a problem and a challenge that I’m personally passionate about...Having spoken to several outdoor enthusiasts I actually validated that there is no smart solution out there that understood each individuals adventure personality, learned from their past experiences and made suggestions according…”
How did you go about building your team?
“It was not an easy process, it was a lot of interviewing. I’m a technologist so it was easy for me to understand what technical stacks I need… I coded almost 75% of the app myself along with a few others… It wasn’t an easy journey, it was more of you make some good decisions and you make some bad decisions when in terms of hiring and then you finally end up with the right set of people…”
What has it been like making the push to get users on your platform?
“It’s been quite the experience. I thought my work was done in terms of building the app but I think taking it to the market it altogether a different ball game… Making sure that it reaches the right set of users and it reaches the right set of eyes that can see and value the concept and the app is a very different skill level to have. I’m glad that we actually launched with iFundWomen…”
Did you always know that you wanted to start your own business?
“I don’t know if I really know that but, I think somewhere down the line I definitely wanted to travel… Adventure travel has always been a deep part of my personality and had always been part of my life. I’ve actually been to almost 39 national parts within the US… I basically wanted to do something in the adventure/travel space just didn’t know what…”
When will it be launched on the Apple Store?
“The first or second week of August we should have the app in the app store. For Android it’ll take us a few more weeks before we put it in the playstore…”
Did you have any mentors who helped you build Outdoor Ninja?
“There were a few of them along the way. Before even getting into this domain of adventure/travel I did a lot of research myself and got in touch with the CEO of Adventure.com… Very early on in the process, I sat down with him to understand what works in the adventure outdoor space and what doesn’t…”
What was your business model of Outdoor Ninja? Did it evolve since you started?
“When we started out first, for the business model we thought we would go the marketplace route. We were thinking we would make this an activity based business model where we were giving recommendations to people and they could actually book a tour or activity on the platform itself. One of the issues with this model is there’s no consolidated database that aggregates all the information of our activity providers... “
What has been the hardest part about building and starting Outdoor Ninja?
“I’d say the top most at this point in time prior to the crowdfunding campaign was building the right team. Despite the fact that I’m a technologist, despite the fact that I knew we had different layers, it was really a struggle to get the right people on the team, not just who were technically savvy but people who were driven…”
What’s the plan going forward after your crowdfunding campaign?
“The immediate next part for that is we wanted to launch the android version of the app as well. This years goal is to get as many users as possible on the app. But, in terms of our vision of the app, right now we’re serving only the hiking adventures and we want to extend this to other adventures like rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, skiing, and the like…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business?
“The first and foremost is to understand the market. I think when I started off with this idea I started off extremely broad. I thought I could a generic travel app that could basically use machine learning and create a perfect itinerary for people going on any trip and any adventure… When you’re creating and understanding your audience and market you have to serve a niche market before you start creating a generic product…”
What’s the best part about running and building Outdoor Ninja?
“I feel I’ve been fortunate in terms of being able to apply my technical experience to solve a problem for something I’m personally passionate about and I think that’s the best part about running Outdoor Ninja. It’s extremely self satisfactory it doesn’t seem like additional work…”
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