TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Sweden-based GuidePal, a mobile app-based travel guide platform for cities around world.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
GuidePal is a quality cityguide for the digital era. The app is totally free to download and has tremendous offline functionality to avoid unnecessary roaming costs when traveling.
My name is Peter Schierenbeck and I’m the CEO, our company is based in Stockholm and we recently hit the 2.5 million mark for downloads, we’re signing thousands of new users every day.
Me and my core team of 16 are supported by hundreds of local experts providing us with unique knowledge of cities around the world.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
We have backing from a private group of investors.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Traditional guidebooks like Lonely Planet are okay, but we feel that they haven’t embraced the power of social, of web and of digital in general.
We love to travel ourselves and we want the inside scoop of a city, not only the typical tourist attractions. GuidePal is giving you the skinny of 60 of the world’s greatest cities, and we add new cities constantly.
I personally have used Lonely Planet only to end up at some outdated restaurant with poor service, crowded with tourists and in some cases, even closed down.
Describe the business, core products and services?
We provide our quality content app for free, and that’s the key to our success. Instead we work with local vendors and have strategic partnerships, like the one we just recently signed with American Express, to finance our business and to keep adding city guides and to keep the content fresh and updated.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
We are looking to service people who love to travel a little bit more than just the next guy. We want to cater to travelers who loves exploring new cities in a more profound way than just going to only tourist attractions.
As for customers, we’re also targeting cool local businesses as well as strategic partners with an interest in tourism.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Our market research before launching was profound and we stated our case to our investors both using market travel research as well as input from trusted digital investors.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Our strategy is to to be focused on our core, quality content written by local experts actually living in the city.
We monetize by having partnerships with travel focused vendors that we think are cool by allowing for them to be visible in the app in highly targeted and subtle ways.
SWOT analysis â€“ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Our content, free app, 2.5 million downloads
- We need to strengthen brand recognition
- To take the position as the leading digital cityguide, Asia is our fastest growing base right now
- We need to keep users invested in using the app not only during travel
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
Actually, we did get a lot of feedback initially and we listened to most of it, but we have a fantastic board of directors who really believes in what we’re doing.
If there were people who didn’t believe in us, we have forgotten about them by now.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
We think that we will have quadrupled our downloads, we have over 200 cities and we have established ourselves as the leading mobile cityguide worldwide.
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