WunderWalk App Lets You Quickly Map An Urban Outing

WunderWalk is an app that helps you find cool stuff to do in your city — or on your next city break — by combining Foursquare and Google Maps to let you search for a series of activities and have the app plot a route on the map, threading through the necessary stop offs and watering holes.

Apps focused on more dynamic maps are increasing in number, thanks to Google’s Maps API and rival offerings from the likes of cloud-based map platform startup MapBox. WunderWalk uses the Google Maps API to power its app, harvesting points of interest data via the Foursquare API.

The Australian startup launched in beta this June in its home market, but is now expanding globally on iOS and Android by adding cities around the world, including London, New York and San Francisco.

The basic idea is to reduce the time it takes to plot an urban outing or day trip by asking the user to specify a handful of things they’d like to do — with prompts in the app asking you to fill in the blanks: “I’m hungry for…”, “I’m thirsty for…”, “I’m looking for…”, “I’m shopping for…”.

The app then generates a route plan for your outing, combining relevant local stop offs to check off your bucket list of immediate cravings. And specifying the walking time between stops, along with total time and distance.

It’s similar to Disrupt alum What Now Travel, but lacks the latter’s offline maps capability so is better suited to local outings in your own city or country, rather than foreign excursions where data roaming fees may make using a mapping app to power suggestions on the fly prohibitively expensive.

WunderWalk also competes with the likes of Yelp for local recommendations but its map-focused interface offers a different feel, and one that’s better suited to planning a series of activities in one fell swoop. It also has also an option to view the best walks created by other users, so you can use it to follow in the footsteps of other locals and travelers. And routes can be shared socially, to Facebook.

Founder Kat McArthur has been bootstrapping the project since coming up with the concept back in 2013, winning a local startup idea competition in Queensland. The team is now rolling out the app globally, after seeing 5 per cent organic month-on-month growth during its beta period.

McArthur argues that WunderWalk stands apart from the biggest competitors in the travel discover space such as TripAdvisor and Yelp by joining the specific dots of what you want to do, rather than showing a comprehensive pin-clad map.

“Independent travellers expect to spend hours planning their trip. WunderWalk removes the traditional Google searching from sightseeing to dining. We believe WunderWalk is the fastest way to combine multiple interests into an outing. Less time stuck in your hotel room,” she says.

“WunderWalk takes rich social and geo data and enables ultra-personalized city discovery. We chose Foursquare’s API in order to validate our product in the market, quickly and globally.”

The app itself is free so the business model will be focused on in-app payments for additional content, tied to a  travel partner/influencer program. As it amasses interest data over time it also sees additional revenue potential to monetize that, according to McArthur.