A few weeks ago, I was taking a walk in my local area and came across those big local notice boards you see pretty much everywhere if you’re not buried in your smartphone or your thoughts.
In fact, if you have a closer look, you can notice that we are surrounded by them; in most of local shops, libraries, schools, colleges, local coffee shops, local supermarkets etc…
Whilst exploring modern tech initiatives to improve the old school notice board, I randomly thought of a french startup called Geokiwi (Unfortunately, it clearly looks like the startup isn’t running any longer).
A few years ago, when I came across Geokiwi through the famous Leweb conference, I can clearly remember thinking what a great idea.
Here is a video of Geokiwi presentation at Leweb in 2011.
Until now , I haven’t really seen( If you do, don’t hesitate to share) a product with a great solution but I definitely believe the opportunity is still there for innovative creation.
A few months ago, I came across a pretty ambitious startup in London, called Streethub. It is a ‘find a product near you’ service for consumers.
Streethub reminds me of a startup called Milo (which was bought by ebay in 2010) . For those of you who don’t know Milo, it was quite a popular silicon valley startup in 2010 with a big goal of building a bridge between online and offline commerce. Pretty quickly the young startup discovered that the vision was too ambitious and ended up by selling to the famous online auction site, Ebay.
So far, Streethub look like they are doing well by making deals with important strategic retailers and getting investment funds. Both crucial for any business start-up’s success.
The major weakness I see is their lack of a mobile application. In my humble opinion, there is no way to solve the local commerce holy grail without a first class mobile strategy. I have recently been made aware that they are working on their iPhone application.
Until they launch in more London areas and offer a great mobile experience, it will be hard to really see what Streethub can offer in their consumer market.
I have been following Foursquare probably from around 2009/10
For the first couple of years , It was just a check in app. You give your location so you can connect with friends in the area or get info.
Nowadays, the startup has another dimension. Foursquare has moved from a checkin feature to a great location focused recommendation tool .
I never used it much personally. I guess the main reasons are because I never really understood why should I share my location and what I was really getting from it
But recently, I was at Southbank and I got a notification from a random person on Foursquare giving me info about the best places to visit in that area.
An other great experience was at the gym, I got a notification from the gym manager to remind me to put the weights back after I’d finished with them. Isn’t this great ?
Here are a few examples why I think Foursquare recommendation tool has a massive potential:
– Imagine being in a restaurant and getting other people’s recommendations of what to/not to order. Good for consumers and for restaurants it can be a great marketing tool as well.
– Imagine going to a park you are unfamiliar with and getting feedback from people familiar with the park who share their favourite parts; where to get the best view, where is good for children, where to avoid going if you have a run, where regular music jams happen or sharing where the ice cream van is.
Anyway, you can let your imagination go and explore different directions that foursquare could go. There is a lot of potential. But at the moment the focus is still on connecting people as consumers to what local services are around.
We want to focus on community…