We mostly fail to realize a problem until an app comes to our rescue. Really! While traveling there is one app to create a to-do list, another app to organize a trip, another to find local deals and a never ending list. StartupsFM team loves to travel and are always browsing through new travel apps streaming in. While looking up through new travel apps, we came across “Suggestme” and also got connected with its cofounder Henk Jan Bijmolt. “Suggestme” is an online map that can be accessed on your smartphone as well as printed to have it right in your pockets when you wish to travel around a particular city. The hot spots that people of that city are talking about on their social networking channels are highlighted on this map so that you know exactly the things to do and where to head to! Along with that, there’s information on hotels and hostels from Booking.com and HOSTELWORLD.com, and flights from Orbitz.com, least to say you can see the weather update on one side! The other shareholders are Peter Bosma and Arne Bos.
Check the hot spots based on peoples’ feeds
Suggestme filters those spots that are most talked about on various social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and others. Based on the hype, Suggestme suggests all the trending hot spots- highlighting them on the map. Its a map that will make you feel like a native even if you are not one. You can choose a particular city, decide what you wanna do- like swim, play, walk, visit a museum, etc, check what’s happening around as feeds on various social networking channels keeps on streaming in, and off you go! You need not worry about hotels or hostels or restaurants or flights. Suggestme has it all stored for you at one place! It does not highlight every single place in that city but just the ones that have recently become people’s most favourite. It’s almost like a people’s choice thing!
Get your personalized map in your pocket
For $10, your personalized map will be sent to you. It is printed on a tough A3 paper ensuring that the map will stay intact even after you have finished your trip. You can otherwise choose to stay with the mobile app only, and download a free PDF of your map. “Suggestme” team generates income through white label services and hopes to ask for payment for spots that businesses would like to be on the site. Research is still on to offer A2 format as well. Suggestme does not aim at making 100 destinations live in a single moment, but rather choose to offer top quality information of each city before they move on to the next. The startup is run by its owners’ resources. Bijmolt is probably known better for selling off Cleafs to a listed affilinet in 2012.
The Investment story
They had few investors interested or involved along the way but they often missed the passion for travelling. Bijmolt opines “with investors the focus is often on extreme growth and exit strategies. We are aiming to produce a fantastic, honest travel product and fortunately that has been possible up to now with personal financing.”
Suggestme founders looked at certain problems that were not yet addressed- problems such as mobile apps that are difficult to use in combination with roaming costs abroad. While some solutions are cleverly designed, in reality they are tricky to use. Also, the free maps that you get are over the top and full of adverts. Hence, they created a pocket-sized map without adverts in sleek and modern design.
The printed version has two sides- on the front there is the map with its important landmarks and hotspots that are selected by the users. The back prints information regarding addresses and opening timings of each point that are selected. Suggestme works with API’s from social media services.Through these social media sources, they offer travelers a continuous real-time overview of the hotspots that other travelers and locals are talking about. “To realize this,we have built our own system that takes the useful data out of social media. We aim to prevent, however, adding all the spots in a city, and activate only the sights, restaurants, bars, and so on that have unique characteristics”~ Henk.
From 5 to 8 members, Suggestme is slowly growing and is spreading too!
From 5 to 8 team members, Suggestme is busy catering to Europe and few places in America. Maps can be posted to Europe, America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. By October 2013, they hope to go live with Lisbon, Vienna, and Athens. Suggestme is also looking forward to knowing which are the other places their users would like to have listed on their site. Bijmolt says ” Those interested in us can also be assured that someone from our team has personally been to the city to enable us to understand the atmosphere and feel of the place”. So, if you don’t find your choice of place here, you can shout out to them. The rest can now pack bags and start moving like any other native of that city!