We've all had travel troubles before, but Localoids is aiming to fix that with their new platform, so we spoke to our latest self starter of the weekPrashant Lagisetti to see what they can offer and what they plan to do, to help travellers and locals alike.
We love the name, but what actually is Localoids?
“Localoids is an international community with a simple aim: we want to help each other in any and every way possible, whether we’re travelling or at home in our awesome cities. We want to create international friendships and, ultimately, a global neighbourhood.”
So, you’re connecting travellers and locals to exchange value, that’s Genius! What inspired you to make this a platform?
“I was on holiday in Genoa last year. We hit all the tourist attractions, but it felt like we weren’t really experiencing the city properly. One night we walked around for over an hour to find a local restaurant for an authentic pizza. But we couldn’t find one… in Italy, which is totally ridiculous. I realised that to get a real feel for a place and the inside scoop, you’ve got to get advice from a real local, or even better, to meet up with one and explore the place together. That’s when the idea for Localoids first formed.”
That’s definitely a common problem all over the world and something I’m sure most of us can relate to. But I’m wondering… why would a local want to meet you as a traveller?
“At a high level, we’ve found that there are so many like-minded people everywhere, who just want to meet and help people from all over the world. That’s amazing, but we wanted to add a practical value element. Many people speak more than one language and have a desire to improve, but can’t find native speakers to practice with. So as a traveller, you can help locals practice a language while you chat and explore the area together. Also, you could help with any other skills or knowledge you have. It’s a win-win situation.”
That makes a lot of sense and I understand how locals would want to get involved. So how does it actually work?
“We’ve built a really user friendly platform that helps travellers and locals connect, before and during travel. Users simply complete their profiles including their interests, what languages they speak and what skills and knowledge they can help others with. If you’re planning a trip you fill in your itinerary, then your profile will show up on locals’ home pages, so travellers and locals can find each other. You can search by interest, language, skills and knowledge. We also have a mini blog section where people can write about anything they want, which is fully searchable and great for research. And finally, we’ve set up a forum so you can ask anything you want about a place. After all, who better to give you advice than a local?”
That’s very cool. I can see a lot of people wanting to use this. But some might be concerned about safety. How do you deal with this?
“It’s really important and something we have thought about a lot. We’ve introduced a couple of things to make sure users are real people, like asking people to pay a very small subscription payment when they first start interacting with other members, using an official payment method. Also, we have a review system for meetings and report buttons across the site. Ultimately, if you’re travelling or local and you want to meet people, we think it’s much safer to meet someone online first, get to know them, then meet in person, rather than just meeting a random stranger on the street.
When you put it that way, it sounds quite safe. Tell us more about your business model.
“We’ll be applying a freemium model to Localoids. So registration is free and you can browse profiles, blogs, forums etc for free. But when you want to interact with other members, you will have to pay, so we know you’re a real person. We’ll start off really cheap, but the price will rise over time as the value in the community rises. Payment also of course provides us with some revenue so we can build the community and give back value. Later we will look to form partnerships so we can offer great deals to our members.”
Ok, this sounds great, now how do we get involved?
“We’ve just put up the pre-launch sign up page at www.localoids.com and have opened up the private beta. Launch will be on the 11th November, but the cities we feature will be up to the public. The more sign ups we get in a city, the better chance we’ll feature it for the launch. Also, we’re giving people the chance to reserve their username. So get over there now and sign up to Localoids. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Cheers!"
For more information on Prashant Lagisetti, Localoids and Self Interviewing for Startacus - Check out the links below!