SUCCESS STORY: Ryan Hanly and Mark Cantoni, founders of social networking app, Travello.
SUCCESS STORY: Ryan Hanly and Mark Cantoni, founders of social networking app, Travello. Contributed

Startup success goes global

ENTREPRENEURSHIP was never on Ryan Hanly's radar when he was growing up.

Originally from Mackay, the 39-year-old who attended both Mercy and St Patrick's colleges, was more interested in riding his bike, fishing and enjoying an era where social media and the internet didn't exist.

Ironically, Mr Hanly and his business partner Mark Cantoni are now the founders of wildly successful social networking app Travello, used by more than 350,000 travellers in 180 countries.

The business has just announced it has closed a $5million capital raising deal, something Mr Hanly says will be astronomical in assisting them to grow Travello on a global scale.

"It basically allows us to grow exponentially," he said.

"We've been relying on organic growth and doing things fairly leanly, but now the concept has been validated so we can look to grow to far bigger levels than originally planned."

Travello's user base is showing double digit growth month on month, an impressive outcome for a start up business first established by two footy mates "just having a go".

"Mark and I have just thrown ourselves into things from an early age, but we didn't even know what a startup was when the idea of Travello came about," he said.

"We both loved to travel and saw the rise of social networks happening, but there was nothing really out there specifically aimed at travellers.

"We didn't have experience with technology but after a few months of kicking the idea around we just decided to jump into it and give it a go.

"It's definitely the riskiest thing that both of us have ever done."

Travello connects travellers from all corners of the globe, recommends experiences and allows users to browse and book more than 50,000 activities.

Mr Hanly says his most valuable piece of advice to budding entrepreneurs was to take action as quickly as possible.

"The best thing you can do is to just get started," he said.

"Don't be afraid to ask for help from people because you are scared they might steal your idea if you tell them what you are working on.

"Most people have their own ideas or are they too busy with their own lives."

Despite life as a successful entrepreneur presenting a whirlwind of opportunities to Mr Hanly, he says growing up in a small town is something he will be forever grateful for.

"I look back on that time and realise how lucky I was," he said.

"I'd always welcome the opportunity to go back to Mackay and speak to the students at my old school.

"When I was in grade 12 I didn't have a mobile phone or email, so I want kids to know there's no point stressing about what career they are going to have.

"In 10 years time things will have changed so much."