Atlanta Founder Story: Veronica Woodruff, Founder and CEO of Travelsist

Startup Atlanta
8 min readJun 22, 2022

The last three years have impacted the entire travel industry with global lock-downs and travel restrictions creating a pent-up demand for travelers across the globe. Among the silence of the lockdown and mandatory quarantines to quell the spreading pandemic, Veronica Woodruff found a unique opportunity to work with airport leaders to discover and redefine the travel experience and in March 2020, her team launched Travelsist. Travelsist offers on demand personal assistant services to people arriving at the airport .To learn more about Veronica and how you can support her and the Travelsist team on their journey of redefining the airport experience, keep reading this edition of #AtlantaFounderStories.

Meet Veronica Woodruff, Founder and CEO of Travelsist

Although it feels like she’s from Atlanta after spending almost 16 years in the peach state, Veronica grew up in southern California and went to college in Monterey before she moved to Atlanta with her mother, who wanted to get a new start in the south after the passing of her father. After consulting with several of her college advisors on the opportunities for diverse business owners in Atlanta, she shared how our local entrepreneurial ecosystem led her to choose to move to Atlanta in more detail.

I was graduating college when I lost my dad. My mom decided to sell her house in California and she wanted to move to the south and out of all of the southern cities, she moved to Atlanta. She just had one ask when I graduated college, which was for me to come out here.

I was speaking with my college advisors and I explained that my mom wanted me to come to Atlanta, and I already had opportunities to sit on boards with nonprofits in Monterey so every one told me that they thought it would be a great opportunity because a lot of great entrepreneurs move to Atlanta and start these large Fortune 500 companies and they have major success stories. Then, I wasn’t even thinking about Travelsist but I do believe that everything happens in life with reason and my mom positioned me here in Atlanta, and it’s the best thing that could ever happen to me.

Bringing a Big Juicy Idea to Life

Prior to finding the “big juicy idea” that became Travelsist, Woodruff attempted to start several other ventures but did not have the time or resources to fully activate these ideas. As a budding entrepreneur and new mom, Veronica was faced with traveling around the country to visit family while her husband stayed locally for work to take care of the family. During her travels, Woodruff found herself needing dedicated support with her daughter while visiting their family in places like California, Orlando, and Puerto Rico, which sparked the idea for what is now Travelsist. Veronica reflected on the evolution of her small business ventures to launching Travelsist from a baby gear rental service and pivoting to a full-on personal assistant service designed to heighten the airport experience for travelers.

I did not really activate them the way that I did for Travelsist. I would start things and if I wasn’t seeing enough traction or revenue, I would stop. For example, I wanted to do a restaurant and I realized it’s actually really hard to have a restaurant. I like to say Travelsist became my (other) baby.

We had so many variations of how we went to market; what didn’t fit, who we thought was our customer and who wasn’t, and we are still on that journey–we are still in customer discovery to identify different revenue streams. We went to market with Travelsist in 2018 doing rentals for baby gear on Facebook Marketplace. Once I had enough money for a website, I had really good traction and after going through Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)’s Customer Discovery program, I was able to get the knowledge that we needed to create the features and feasibility for the website, and all of the things you need to know when you’re going to build any type of technology.”

“We launched officially in March 2020 and at that point we knew that the world was shutting down due to COVID. I couldn’t do it to my team to not launch. We launched and didn’t get the traction and revenue that we expected because nobody was traveling. Despite this, we kept on hustling and invested in personal protective equipment and focused on selling our product to any one who would buy it.

At the same time, we did customer discovery and because there weren’t so many things happening in the airport, it was really easy for us to be able to meet with airport leaders and ask the questions that we needed to ask we were able to identify what they really needed from us, versus what we thought we could provide them. This helped us pivot because we were assisting a very niche group of people, which were families who travel, but there were actually a lot of other people that needed assistance for example, travelers with disabilities or in need of wheelchair assistance.”

By summer of 2021, people were ready to get back to travel and this led the Travelsist team to discovering that 60% of those people were first time flyers, with a large percentage of those people being over the age of 60. Aware of the disjointed and sometimes hassling experience of navigating large airports with the varying levels of technical expertise, the Travelsist team began onboarding travel assistants who could help streamline the airport experience for these travelers.

I went through a series of different programs because no one could give me a direct answer to help me do what I was doing. The local technology ecosystem did not have a lot of experience working with airports and within the airport ecosystem they did not have experience working with technology startups, they do business with large multimillion dollar companies and we were a startup with no money and just a big juicy idea.

Finding the Silver Lining in Cloudy Circumstances

Building this business did not come without challenges for Veronica who detailed going out of her comfort zone and making the strategic decisions that she has had to make as an Afro Latina business owner. After taking part in several programs and gaining the feedback needed to help her pivot her business, Veronica evaluated key learnings of what she gained from these programs and the outcomes of the lessons that she learned.

We had to grind and ask questions. One of the airport leaders told me I had a lot of integrity and a really good solution but a very niche idea and market and one of the things I needed to do was build a name for myself. I remember going to an American Express conference and speaking with a director of partnerships and when I pitched to her she told me how what I needed was to build my team. I realized I can’t do this by myself and that I needed to surround myself in an environment outside of the people I was hanging with everyday like family and friends, I had to seclude myself and get into the startup and at that time it was foreign and uncomfortable because at that time at ATDC, I was the the only Afro Latina female, you would get sprinkles of women here sometimes but a lot times I was in the room with all white men.

The best thing about this was that I learned from them; I learned their language, I learned how they made deals happen casually, I learned how they never undersold themselves–they always spoke highly of themselves and highly of the people that they were around. I learned how valuable that is and how valuable that was to any one they are speaking to. Now, I do that and I am a champion for all of the women around me. Not only that, I was able to convert the people that I would meet into supporters in a way that they would work for me for equity or just because they wanted to help and I had to get good at that. I did whatever it took for me to get to the next level.

In addition to taking part in ATDC’s customer discovery program, Woodruff shared her strategic decision to join the City of Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI), which played a pivotal role in helping her scale the growth of her business. She made the best out of the opportunity of being backed by City of Atlanta and it led her to other opportunities including mentorship from Startup Awards Lifetime honoree Bernie Dixon, being admitted into the Venture Ready program funded by the Fearless Fund, getting her first check in the Techstars and J.P. Morgan accelerator program and ultimately gaining an investment from the Fearless Fund.

First Atlanta, Next the World

Veronica and the Travelsist team are continuing their focus on bringing innovation to the travel industry by automating the process of getting personal assistance in the airport. In the next few years Veronica hopes that if not all 41,000+ airports across the globe, that Travelsist is available in a majority them.

Atlanta is home, so it is a big deal to launch here in Atlanta first. We have a lot of support and community here and we are taking this global so we are still working on building connections to global airport leaders. We want to be the marker that revolutionizes travel in a way that no one who has to travel and needs assistance is left behind.

Thanks for sharing your #AtlantaFounderStory, Veronica! Visit our Medium page to keep reading more exciting stories of the founders that are making the Atlanta startup scene shine bright. Share this story and stay tuned at!