Dcovery is a mobile application which helps users organise their travel research.
The service, launched yesterday on the App Store, uses its Place Finder technology to scan web pages for mentions of destinations, pulls in the address and contact for information and enables travellers to save it all in a guide with the original web page for offline reading.
The startup is self-funded and has been developed by its three founders - chief executive Matt Bellemare who will also take care of strategy, Phil Michaud, a self-taught interface designer and Max Boulin, who is described as a hacker.
While Dcovery has quite a lot of competition in the space including Trippy, Triposo, GuidePal and mTrip, it is going for a paid-app approach and also says Place Finder will set it apart from rivals as well as the user-experience.
Q&A with CEO Matt Bellemare:
How is the way you are solving this problem more special or effective than previous attempts you or the market has seen before and how different do you have to be to succeed?
Everyone is different and does not travel for the same reasons and yet everyone is expected to visit the same cafes, museums and sleep in the same hotels according to popular travel guides. We enable people to build their own travel/city guide unique to them.
Instead of inviting them in a walled-garden of travel ideas, we give them the tools so they can easily act on recommendations from travel publications everywhere on the web. For example, using Dcovery's Place Finder, you could save the recommendations of a blogger's trip report to Hong Kong— and our technology would find those places on a map, the address in the local language and organize it all automatically for offline access in your iOS device.
Why should people or companies use your startup?
Travellers love researching their destination on the web before going on a trip— it's part of the fun of travelling! We make it easy to organize all that destination research and also help people explore more when they reach their destination with tools like Dcovery's Taxi Mode.
Other than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?
We are working on integrating Dcovery's Place Finder with travel publishers who want to enable their readers to take action on their recommendations by letting them save articles for offline reading and places mentioned. More to come in the coming weeks.
What other options have you considered for the business and the team if the original vision fails?
Our vision is to enable people to discover and explore more when they are travelling, this vision is solid. Our strategy to execute our vision may change. We will learn and iterate our product as we go along.
What mistakes have you made in the past in business and how have you learned from them?
We need to ship our product early and iterate often.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
Travel guides have inspired and helped people discover and explore more for many years. Now that more people carry smartphones and tablets while traveling, it opens up many opportunities.
Most innovations we've seen so far have been to take traditional printed travel publications in the electronic format. We believe there's much more that can be done.
My 'cool' Tnooz colleagues who are Evernote fans tell me Dcovery sounds much more useful. Enabling users to find interesting destination and travel information, collate it to one place and browse it offline, as well as refer to the original web page offline, whenever they want ticks lots of boxes.
Then users name and save their destination research so that when they go to Dcovery they can quickly see and go to the relevant list.
However, whether users will want to pay the £2.49 price tag is another question especially when there are quite a few free rivals in the space.
Getting traction will be a challenge and even the strategy of partnering with travel publishers might not be enough although we're excited to see how this pans out.
What Dcovery seems to have going for it is the slick interface, it looks good, seems easy to use and the Place Finder scanning technology is clever. Then, if it misses anything there's always the back-up of doing it manually as well as the ability to drop in photos from the web pages.
One final benefit, so far, is that its free of advertising so the research you get is what you're truly interested in without having any products pushed at you.
And, one final word, presumably Evernote might have something to say about some muscling in on travel as it already does its own version of organising the wealth of information.
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