The startup is changing the way you discover new adventures…and find waves.
If you haven’t been traveling lately, you may have avoided the very definition of “hot mess.”
It’s no surprise that the travel industry has been anything but a pleasant experience since the pandemic, with canceled flights, extreme weather events and several other mishaps that are out of our control. Many have resorted to weekend getaways and, being a part of one of the largest generations who seeks that special experience, Millennials like myself and Gen Zers have paved their own pathways through the last few years’ red tape a la day trips in hopes to find that magically uncrowded (or less crowded) beach or wave.
Put a pin in that because Orange County startup Limon has big plans for your day trip experience.
Originally hailing from the Bay Area, Limon co-founders Lili and Ramon Montes, a sister-brother dynamic duo, are socializing your day trips via an interactive app so everyone can have a good time, minus those annoying checked baggage fees and security lines.
Limon will allow a user to document their journey, including posting photos and video, and providing advice, and recommendations on activities, dining and other points of interest on the area they visited. Create an account, answer some questions so Limon can provide you with travel recommends and also connect with friends who have the app or make friends on the app and check out their recommendations.
“If I have a friend who takes the best beach vacations, I can just look her up and scroll through her recommends to see what I want to do. It’s hard to decide where to start when planning a day trip, but if you follow local influencers or friends, then you can make it easier on yourself,” said Ramon, cofounder and chief operating officer.
But wait—do we want to divulge our most super special secret surf spots?
“I know in the surfing community, you don’t always want to give away all the best surfing spots, so you will be able to make private posts or posts that only your close friends can see so your favorite surf break won’t get overcrowded,” said Ramon.
The pair plan to officially launch their alpha version January 2023.
When building a startup, there is no such thing as a straight and narrow path, and funding always seems to be a white rabbit of sorts, according to Lili, cofounder and CEO, who got a taste of the struggle early on after developing a key sharing business during her undergrad years at UC Santa Barbara. Limon has been through a few iterations including a recent branding change. To better reflect their Hispanic cultural heritage, the duo changed their startup name and branding from “Coast” set in purple hues to Limon, equipped with more eye-catching green and yellow tones.
“In the startup world, only around two percent of venture capital funding goes to Hispanic-owned startups. We want to help shatter the glass ceiling with diversity and inclusion through Limon,” said Lili.
According to a Crunchbase report, despite making up half of the new small businesses from 2007-2017, Latin founders and entrepreneurs have received very little support during this most critical phase often resulting in the startup closing down operations. Fortunately, some progress has been made with new VC and Angel firms solely dedicating their attention and funds to women and underrepresented entrepreneurs and startup teams.
Since launching their startup in 2020, the team has raised $70,000 from a friends and family funding round and is aiming to raise their seed round next year.
“We want to close out the Friends & Family round soon so we can put all of our focus into launching the app and creating a buzz around it,” said Lili. “We have been building a foundation of the business, and we are just about to be at the tipping point where the startup really begins to accelerate.”
If sibling rivalry was a thing, you would never notice with Lili and Ramon because the pair have developed a professional working relationship that includes honesty and constructive criticism among their top tenants.
“We call it sibling mentality…we are always ready to cut through the fluff of tiptoeing around things and just say—‘let’s fix it and move forward,’” said Ramon.
Together they represent an innovative startup ready to burn rubber down the “Baja-esque” terrain of startup land, but individually, they are completely different sides of the business—Lili is the planner and implementer whereas Ramon is heavy on the tech side of the app.
“It worked out really well that we like different categories of business so much and that we can serve it differently, so it’s been great working together,” said Lili.
Armed with a team of interns from UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences program, the co-founders have been working tirelessly behind the scenes not only creating the app, but also curating content, developing a supportive founder community and audience base as well as tapping into local day trippin’ opportunities through the O.C.
“We can really have a strong community here and kind of use it as a testing ground in a way to see what works or what doesn’t and then build a model that can scale. So yeah, [our interns] have written hundreds of day trips around Orange County already so that way, so the very first user to see the app, it’s not going to be empty, there’s going be a lot of recommendations,” said Ramon.
From day adventures to nightlife, shopping and entertainment, Limon aims to lift the “orange curtain” and share in the fun that this coastal community brings. After all, sharing is caring, right?
Just remember that when the next big swell comes in, ‘kay?!
Learn more about Limon.
*All photos courtesy of Limon