Guidepal is a Swedish startup that offers city guide apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry devices. The guides are free to download and use, and contain information about sights and attractions, places to go, shopping etc. typical things you might expect from city guides.
The guides are produced by Guidepal’s local city experts and writers around the world. There is currently an app for 27 different cities. Guidepal aims to differentiate from the traditional travel guides by supporting a number of digital platforms, and trying to offer wider and more relevant content than other services.
Guidepal mentions they have currently over 500,000 users and are getting 2.500+ downloads per day. You can also find quite a bit of info on different cities from Guidepal’s website. The startup was targeting first web since 2007, but started going after the app market in spring 2010.
A good thing is the guide apps are fully usable offline, without need for data connection, which is handy for tourists traveling abroad. While everythng’s moving to cloud nowadays, mobile network usage on a foreign network is still a big pain due to the high roaming costs. While EU has been able to cap the data fees at least bit, traveling to another continent of the world and you’ll pay dearly for even looking at your browser icon, it seems – Google Maps and other data heavy orientation guides are definitely out of the question.
Guidepal’s apps also make use of Augmented Reality to allow getting information and directions by pointing the phone camera in any direction in the particular city.
For local businesses, Guidepal offers free advertising inside the guides. Businesses can also opt-into a “performance-based customer acquisition” where they define an offer (e.g. 20% off entrance ticket / “3 for 2”) that’s tied to their physical location, and Guidepal takes a €1-6 commission when users complete the offer. So far this seems like the only revenue model of the firm. Seems simple enough, but likely there would need to be massive adoption of the app(s) before that is going to generate meaningful revenue. The firm is currently angel funded.