Having just returned back from Jakarta, great city BTW, I noticed a trend among some of the startups around Southeast Asia – chasing the location gold. Sites or mobile applications that will focus on where u are, what are u doing, what do u want to do and who or what is around u. This is a cool segment because it is very focused on the consumer but at the same time it has technical challenges but the opportunity for making money down the road is big.
I have not seen anyone really nail it yet but there are some interesting players to watch.
In Singapore there is hungrygowhere which is more of Yelp for SEA but I think they will get pushed into being more aware of location as key to their space. I like their stuff and they are expanding into other countries but I think they need to drastically simplify their interface and their review criteria. The only thing that keeps me from putting more reviews into it is that it takes far too much time. So right now I just use it to find things but they will want to address that issue or they will lose people to simpler systems.
Foyage is a player in Singapore and Indonesia. They are doing some interesting work but are mobile only. I think all the players needs mobile and web interfaces to win. This is a blurb from Foyage:
Foyage helps you to find places and people nearby.
Foyage also enables you to find out if there are other Foyagers nearby.
Make friends and get their latest comments showed automatically to your screen.
And by adding your favorites spots to the favorite list, you can always be the first to receive the latest updates about it.
I like how Foyage is trying to get regional fast. Smart move since for me I will eventually use the app that is mobile, on the web and in the most countries I travel in. Having to use a different app or service for each country will get old. Expect the smart guys to roll each other up or acquire each other to scale quickly – at least they should.
Koprol seems to be the same as Foyage but only in Indonesia and only a web app that can ne used on the phone. They are building real mobile clients. I like their biz model and they are aggressive but only seem to be focusing on Indonesia. Indonesia – unlike the other countries in SEA could be a standalone business but when it comes to monetization and heft – the regional players who also cover Indonesia will do better long term.
urbanesia is another Indonesian based group working on smart online yellow pages with location and commenting but I don’t see any rating system. They also don’t seem to have mobile clients but they are gathering location stuff – meaning the places to go.
The problem with all of SEA is there is little location data and this won’t change. So these companies are spending money to build up location databases which is not cheap to do. I think some of them might want to work together on this problem by using shared data but building their own value add on top. I think the player with the most usable endpoints (mobile, web & TV) who has the best model for user generated content might get the biggest DB but this will not ensure success.
This is a fun space to watch. If readers or companies are aware of other similar players please comment – thanks!