When check-in is no longer fun to you or your friends, what else are you willing to share related to location and places you’ve been to? Today we are introducing you a new social travel app which was featured on App Store’s “Best New Apps” in 15 markets across Asia (Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Cambodia, and Laos) for 2 weeks since its launch!
This new boy is called Spottly, a 500 Startups-backed startup which tries to serve those who love to explore cities and those who love to capture their new discoveries around town. This product allows you to create interesting places and build your own traveling lists so you can keep them to yourself as a journal or share it with your friends and let them join you. By posting photos, adding notes and creating traveling lists, users can organize their own “foodie-class” restaurants or those “dream-lands” lists just for themselves.
Spottly helps you to discover interesting places, or in other words, to improve your quality of life! When I was browsing the Spottly feed, I felt so excited to know that there are so much interesting places out there that I’ve never been to and mostly worth exploring.
Days ago we had a chance to meet Edwyn Chan, the co-founder of this fun social travel app and here are the 5 questions about him and this new startup he’s working on.
1. This is not your first venture, how did you end up with this one?
Building the best products has always been my passion, and I am always looking for problems I think I can solve. However, a startup isn’t a one person affair and it wasn’t until I was lucky enough to find my two co-founders Dian and Charlotte whom could make up for my shortcomings did I feel we had a chance in the competitive internet startup world. Entrepreneurship is tough. Nine out of ten days you feel like everything is going to fall apart. It’s an emotional roller coaster. Although it seems like we don’t have strict office hours, what it really means is the opposite, there isn’t any non-work hours or holidays.
2. Is checking-in dead?Any quote for the future of location based service?
I think check-in isn’t dead but it’s more of a complementary feature rather than a stand-alone product. I believe Facebook has got it right. Location check-ins should just be a tag, similar to tagging friends, to your main content (picture or status update) because a check-in does not have enough context/signal to be stand alone contents.
I think we haven’t begun to realize the opportunities of LBS. There was a lot of hype 3 years ago and everyone rushed in to do check-ins, that didn’t work and everyone brushed it off as a fad. I think the biggest opportunity comes after the hype has died down and no one thinks anything can be done.
I believe this is when the best opportunities come as you can learn from the mistakes other people have made and you aren’t preoccupied with what your competitors are doing. Just look at social networking or search, friendster started it all build huge hype and then died. Countless others tried to do it but it wasn’t until Facebook who came a few years after that figured it out. The same with search, when Google started everyone had dismissed search, and all the other search companies had fallen to the wayside. Search was hot once, Alta Vista, Hotbot, Yahoo, Excite?
3. What’s your favourite list and what do you like most about Spottly?
My favorite list is my top spots in Tokyo. I get asked a lot for recommendations there. My favorite function is the “no picture” feature – where it has the ability to add places you haven’t been but want to go to by pulling pictures from the web. Now, if I hear or learn about cool places I haven’t been from friends or the media, I can easily mark it down with a picture and a note. I think its currently the best way to keep track of places you want to go anywhere in the world in the market right now.
4. Who and where are you targeting?
We are targeting people that love to find and go to the best places, near or far. Although when people think of travel they think of far places but for me, once you leave your home you are traveling. There are so many great places in the world to go to, maybe too many, we just need better filtering tools. I believe the world is flat enough now that we can take advantage of the talent arbitrage each region offers us. China/Beijing offers us great engineering talent, our part time designer is a Brazilian living in Estonia and we are doing our marketing out of Hong Kong. I think this also fits with our product, as travel is inherently global.
5. Any Funding news to share?
After our seed investment from 500Startups earlier this year, we have raised an additional US$400K. We are a very product focused team and we are glad to have found investors that believe in our mission of building the best product possible before working on our business model.
“Recently the most encouraging feedback we have gotten from users are: They are willing to put up with our bugs as they are so happy to find a way for them to create lists of their favorite places and share it with their friends! We have awesome case studies: One user created 50+ original content over 2 days as she was so excited to start her very own travel guide. Another power user created and re-posted more than 300+ notes in a week’s span, combining notes from the people she follows and from herself. It’s amazing how people find our app so addictive.” said Edwyn excitedly.
Btw you can discover your spots with Spottly Here.