Travelling is a much loved activity. Having help in the form of an app featuring city tours would be cool. If, besides that, the tours adapt to your mood, even better… Well, meet Inviita. I talked with Bernardo Véstia, their CMO.
What is Inviita and how did the idea come about?
Inviita is a mobile app that automatically creates city tours anywhere in the world, according to the user’s mood. Imagine you’re in Paris and you’re not familiar to the city but you know what you’re in the mood for, just ask Inviita for a suggestion and the app will create you a personalized city tour with a mix of places and activities for you to discover the city. It’s like having a friend showing you what to do in the push of a button.
This idea came to us because we felt the need for something that would quickly give us a suggestion of things to do in a city. Before Inviita, if you wanted to find out what you could do, you would have to go through a lot of websites and apps and do all the heavy lifting yourself. Now you only have to use one app and push a button.
What led you to the different moods available?
Our users told us! Before we launched the official app in October we’ve made a soft launch with another app so we could test the market and collect feedback. With that feedback, not only did we find the right moods but also made some important changes on the product, making it what it is today.
How important is the social aspect of the app?
The social aspect is one of our main differentiations from our competitors. Allowing users to invite other’s to join their plans is something that other products have, but allowing a user to so easily pick somebody else’s plan as start to make their own is something that is unique about Inviita.
How do you set yourselves apart from the other discovery apps?
The thing that makes Inviita absolutely unique is our algorithm of personalized suggestions. There is no other service on the market that will give you curated content based on what you feel like doing. In most of the cases you have to find out things for yourself, which is not very helpful if you don’t’ know the city.
Inviita is being used in over 2500 cities worldwide. What are your growth plans for the remainder of 2016?
Actually these numbers are higher now, it’s 3500 cities. Our growth is not measured in cities but in people so our goal for the year is to grow in number of users. At this point we already have more than 20.000 coming mainly from Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Holland and USA. There are big markets we want to expand to like Brazil or South Korea. For these markets it’s important to have an Android version of the app, so that is why we are focusing on developing Inviita for Android and Web.
How does the European startup scene compare with the USA?
We’ve been in San Francisco and we’ve got a glimpse of what the startup scene is like there. There are a few differences in the general mentality but the main difference is that the US people don’t judge you if you fail as much we do here. In the US people will judge more if you don’t try than if you fail. And this is important because the more you try and the more you fail, the more you’ll learn. The truth is that you only need to make it right once.
What do you wish you’d have known when you first started?
Building a company is very hard because you have to learn about a lot of things which will take you out of your comfort zone. But this is also one of the aspects that makes building a company so much fun. I think that if you take the learning out of the process than it won’t be fun.
What other couple of startups are on your radar and why?
Asides from our competitors to whom we are constantly on the lookout for, there are some companies that we like. Portuguese companies like Tradiio that are disrupting the music business or Quant-ux, a very early stage company that has a prototyping tool in which you can design, test and analyze, all in the same platform.