Africa Travel Week

Hatch, connecting like-minded people

Hatch, founded by Greg Cooke, is an app that offers users an opportunity to connect with like-minded people and find specials on tours, activities, restaurants and bars.  

“Our goal is to create a platform that values honesty, respect, community, and an innate sense of curiosity and personal growth. We aim to support and promote the local travel and hospitality sector to both locals and foreigners, particularly this summer. 

If you are looking for a unique way to find others that enjoy the same activities, then this is a great place to meet and get out there.  

Q&A with Greg Cooke 

How did the idea for your business come about?  

The idea came after some personal experience on dating apps which lead to frustration and the realisation that there were many other users equally disappointed with the dating experience.  

I did some research and surveys and there were clear pain points which could be solved for consumers. With a background in travel, we believed we could incorporate local travel and hospitality suppliers into the dating process to create safe spaces, ice-breaking meet-up options, and a way for businesses to attract consumers looking for something special.     

We’ve since dropped the ‘dating’ only narrative of hatch, and are in the process of ‘rebranding’ hatch as a platform for like-minded people to connect and find interesting things to experience within our serviced sectors. 

How did you come up with the name for your company/experience? 

We’re building a fairly complex, multi-sided marketplace that services both consumers and small businesses. At stages of the build, we were faced with the classic ‘chicken or egg’ scenario, and thought ‘hatch’, somewhere in between, would be the ideal fit and a fun name.     

Hatch: “to devise or plot” – we liked the idea of “hatching” a plan. 

Who is your ideal customer and why? 

Our ideal consumer would be anyone over the age of 18 looking to find interesting experiences and people to share them with.    

Our ideal business supplier would be a small business owner within the travel/hospitality space looking to leverage in-app targeting to create pop-up ‘events’ (time sensitive experiences) which help minimise downtime and maximise revenue.   

Domestic and inbound international travellers – we envision hatch to be popular amongst FIT travellers visiting South Africa, especially as the rise of solo travel is significant. 

Why do you offer the very best experience/product for your customers? 

We’re solving genuine pain points for consumers while allowing businesses the opportunity to tap into a new form of customer acquisition and targeting. 

What is your greatest hope for your business? 

To be the #1, safest, experience-based platform in Africa 

What has been the most satisfying achievement in your business? 

Launching our minimum viable product (MVP) in November with very little budget and relatively fast development from idea-stage a few months ago. 

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who want to get into tourism? 

  • There are so many opportunities in tourism, find a problem, test your assumptions, and go for it! The industry needs young, tech savvy entrepreneurs to develop the space, for the benefit of businesses and the consumer.  
  • Network a lot, chat to other individuals or businesses within tourism, ask a lot of questions, try to understand the systems and software being used, and how you might make things easier for consumers or businesses through tech.    
  • “Explore wide, dive deep” – continuously explore new verticals, ideas, assumptions, and if something seems interesting, dive deep into the detail, quickly, but thoroughly.  

In my experience, that’s the best way to open/close the doors you need. 

If you could have a do-over, what would you do differently? 

Nothing really, I’ve loved the exploratory journey and subsequent development of Hatch to date, and imagine it will continue to change rapidly as we move forward. 

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.