Imagine planning your next holiday to eastern Europe and finding out that a local orphanage are in desperate need of children’s books written in english, and will reward you with a day out horse riding if only you will bring a few books. This is the basic premise of AngelMule, as written about by SpringWise recently.
The idea was formed when co-founders Andrew and Avis found themselves taking a football with them on a trip to Rwanda. They were going anyway, and it wouldn’t take much space, so they also decided to go the extra mile and take it in person to the orphanage that had made the request…the rest is history.
The rest of the business operates by connecting locals and travellers on the understanding that a social exchange will be provided on top of reimbursement for the cost of goods. For example, if I take a jar of Marmite to a homesick pom on my next trip back from the UK I might get reimbursed for the cost of the Marmite and have a couple of beers thrown in too.
Here is the business model shown using the business model canvas:
The site looks great, and offers a nicely branded form of experiential travel. They just forgot to develop a revenue model. These are the interactions for our two main customer segments (I am assuming the charities will be supported by whoever the paying customers turn out to be):
- The paying customer – locals request goods, and pay for them at cost with an additional fun experience e.g. a night out
- The free customer – travellers transport the goods (acting as mules), getting reimbursed and a fun experience in return
So far the business has spent a year developing the website and have only vaguely alluded plans to introduce some sort of transaction charge for payment of higher cost items. A classic “build it and they will come” model. Maybe they are hoping Facebook will buy them. I just hope they have the capital to support their costs whilst they ‘build brand’.