A PAIR of childhood friends have launched a successful app, after quitting their jobs to pursue their side hustle full-time.
The best friends, who joke that they are ‘married’ because they’re so inseparable, developed an app to rival TripAdvisor and help people find ‘hidden gems’ in foreign cities.
Robyn told MyLondon: “Seeing as we both spent time travelling for work, we would always want to know where the best places are.
“We would use Google Maps to find them, use Tripadvisor to get a review and desperately ask friends for recommendations – it was just a never-ending process of trying to find, save and share recommendations.”
Rachel reached out to Robyn in 2018 with the idea of launching ‘Step: Your World’, which has now been downloaded by more than 50,000 people.
Robyn continued: “It sucked putting the project on ice and we quit our jobs so we were left worrying about what was going to happen.
“We always thought it would be a travel app but with Covid, we realised that so many things were closing and opening and Step could be such a useful tool.”
Outlining how the app works, she explained: “If you go to a meeting in a new part of London you’ve never been to or need a bar to find, Step can be used for that.”
She added that it was a “blessing in disguise” to have time to change how the final product would work.
Step launched last year and apparently combines elements of a number of social media apps.
Users can sign up and receive recommendations from friends in cities across the world about the best places to go, while helping them to avoid tourist traps.
On top of that, there are ‘Culture Curators’, who can issue recommendations and help people who may not know anybody in the city they are visiting.
Rachel explained: “If you have no friends in the city or anyone to follow, you can follow our curators. It could be a chef, hotelier, or art curator for the culture section. We bring people in who will know the best places.”
You can also see where recommended spots are on the map and view pictures of them online.
The more people you follow, the more you see on the map, helping you find places to eat, stay, shop and much more.
Rachel said: “It cuts out that whole research that you’d have to do in the past like finding the location and then looking it up, you do it all in one place.
“We wanted people to be spontaneous. Compared to other competitors, they might do things in list-based or long-written forms.
“We thought by giving people a map to be able to visualise and find their route would help. These other platforms are huge but we think there’s a niche we could fill. You control the content you want to see.”
The app is targeted at the younger generations, but Robyn and Rachel are confident it can be used by people of any age.
They currently have half a million ‘Steps’ (or recommendations) on the platform and hope to have the same number of downloads by the end of 2023.