When you travel from city to city, it’s always nice to find out about local attractions, happenings or cool places to visit. What if you could turn your smartphone into your own personal tour guide in the cities you visit?
Rackspace Startup Program member WayScout is a platform that empowers users to create and deliver mobile location-based guides. Guides can be lists, tours or other information tied to location. With photos, video and audio, guides can provide an immersive experience, or be a simple but useful list. Go deep with your interests or uncover a new passion. New places and experiences are all shared with you by local experts.
Sarah Fishleder, WayScout’s CEO, founded and launched the company in Berkley, Calif.
“As a city planner and real estate consultant, I’ve spent most of my career working with cities, non-profits, real estate developers and other professionals,” she says. “These groups know their neighborhoods, and they strive to highlight what is unique about their cities. They often don’t have large technical budgets or staff members who can develop an app at the drop of a hat.”
Fishleder says that WayScout eliminates that barrier.
“WayScout removes the need for technical staff and allows these groups to have a mobile presence for free,” she says. “And, if they want, they can monetize their expertise and knowledge and sell a guide through the platform. Beyond organizations and companies, anyone – a parent, blogger or student – can create and publish using the system. WayScout makes it possible to discover new places and experience cities in a new way through a diverse group of creators.”
According to Fishleder, the idea for WayScout stemmed from her desire to share what she knew about her California Bay Area community and her passion of finding out about the new cities she visits.
“I love cities,” Fishleder says. “I love walking around a new city and finding out what makes it unique and vibrant. It is a huge hassle to stand in front of a building and Google on your phone in hopes of finding out who designed that particular building or who were the people who lived there. Communities are rich with these stories and this knowledge. WayScout grew directly out of my desire to share what I know about my community and also benefit from my neighbors’ knowledge.”
Fishleder, a self-funded entrepreneur, says she found that the Rackspace Startup Program was beneficial in helping WayScout achieve scale and go-to-market quickly.
“The Rackspace Startup Program was generous and met our needs as a bootstrapping startup,” Fishleder says. “Also, it should make it easy for us to scale, which is important. In addition to a great platform to build on, we’ve received prompt service with from Rackspace and the Startup Program. This is important because we didn’t have to waste a lot of time dealing with questions or other issues.”
WayScout has launched the beta of its iPhone app and will open up its web creation tool to will allow anyone to create guides to share or sell. The startup is also working with some community groups to share their knowledge as guides in WayScout. And there’s more to come, she says.
“We will be rolling out our web-based marketplace, Android app and an expanded set of features to allow mobile publishers more creative expression and new ways to distribute content across the web and mobile devices,” concludes Fishleder. “And, of course, we are hiring!”