From flying blind, to seeing the next move

Anywhr is Asia’s first and only surprise trips curator. It’s no surprise then, that through hard work and keeping their customers guessing, they’ve built a business on planning travel, with a twist.

Turning passion into a profession

Zelia Leong, co-founder of Anywhr, has been travelling her entire life. Ever since she was a kid, her parents have been taking her from one side of the world to another. And over the years, that passion for travelling has only grown stronger, which eventually led her to pursuing a career in it. The result? Creating Anywhr with co-founder Felix Tan.

“Travelling with my family from a young age exposed me to the world and made me understand what I liked, and didn't like, about the way we travelled.” – Zelia, Anywhr Co-Founder

Anywhr is officially Asia’s first and only surprise trip curator. This is how it works.

On their website you put in the dates you’d like to travel, you then dictate the type of trip you want to take (action, adventure or a little getaway) and then you give them a budget to play with.

From there, the team at Anywhr goes to work, deciding where in the world to send you – but almost guaranteeing you a unique experience every time. Forget recycling itineraries and cookie cutter activities, every single day of your holiday is a new experience. Before you jet off, you’ll receive tips on what to pack and details for your departure. The only thing you don’t know is the destination. But a week before you leave - an envelope is sent to you...the hardest part is resisting the urge to open it.

Then, at the airport, you open the envelope, and right there is the destination you’re headed towards and your customised travelogue. And it’s this element of surprise that Anywhr has built their success on.

From office jobs, to global jet-setters

A personal experience Zelia had while backpacking around Europe was the foundation for Anywhr’s idea. She found the spontaneity of the trip lead her to new and exciting places every day, and ones she may have never found if she’d stuck to the usual tourist routes.

But it wasn’t until she met Felix while working at her last office job that the idea for Anywhr started taking on a life of its own. Eventually, the two decided that it was now or never to push the go button on it. t first, they convinced friends and family to let them plan surprise trips for them, but soon after, their website was attracting more attention.

“I knew I wanted to learn - professionally and personally. And had to decide if I wanted to do it while working for someone else or while building something I am truly passionate about. The decision came naturally after.” – Zelia

And while working in travel might sound like a pretty exciting industry to be in, Zelia and Felix have found the challenges along the way aren’t in short supply. Launching in 2017, they’ve grown the company from 0 to 20 people inside a year – which is an incredible growth rate, but one that comes with challenges of its own:

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I have to constantly evaluate myself and my engagement with others, read and watch a lot of relevant videos and books, and chat with mentors to learn from them.

- Zelia Leong, co-founder of Anywhr

From out of sorts, to financially sound

Nowadays, Felix handles the operations side of the business, while Zelia takes control of marketing. Both complement each other and find that by using Xero, they’re able to see exactly how their sales are doing, where their business is booming and can keep an eye on things no matter where they are in the world. See how you can run your business anywhere with online accounting from Xero, and even work on the move with Xero’s mobile app.

And it all stemmed from a real-world problem they were having:

“When the business grew and I couldn’t keep up with all the transactions anymore, I needed an easy solution to manage my finances, and understand what we were spending on each month” – Zelia

One of the most important features for Anywhr is the ability to keep track of all their transactions and connect their accounting software with their business bank account saving a huge amount of time for them both. Xero connects with local banks in Singapore to help you cut down on admin tasks, and get a better view of your business - find out how this works.

“Xero allows you to get rid of all your papers and helps you keep track of all your transactions - never forget them again! It also syncs with so many third party providers that the platform becomes an integral part of your finances.” - Zelia

Xero also connects with more than 700 third-party apps, like payroll, inventory, e-commerce and more, to solve your industry and business needs.

As Xero has become an integral part of managing their finances, their business is looking stronger than ever. And with their growth rate, it shows no signs of slowing down. To Anywhr, the future may be a surprise, but that’s something they’re used to embracing by now.

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I was so excited to finally get rid of all the manual data entry and get my time back. Hallelujah! Seeing our transactions from DBS flow automatically into Xero was like watching beer pour out of a tap. Beautiful.

- Zelia Leong, co-founder of Anywhr

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