Gothere.sg launches new iPhone application

August 14th, 2010 | by Chan Chi-Loong

Singapore’s mapping start-up Gothere.sg launched their new iPhone application about exactly a week ago. I had the pleasure of catching up with Junhan, one of Gothere’s founders, to get both a demo of their app and a status update of what they’ve been doing.

Firstly, below are some YouTube videos that the scrappy Gothere guys have put up on the Interwebs to explain what their app is about:

Basically it’s a front end client app on iPhone that extends their already popular Gothere.sg site. I’m don’t own an iPhone (I have a HTC Desire and am on the Android platform), but in the preview session that Junhan demoed the app to me and a few other work colleagues on the iPhone 4, I found the app to be excellent.

Everything that I liked about Gothere.sg — various driving public transport suggestions + estimated costs (e.g. avoiding ERP gantrys), trip summaries, smart autocompletion of search locations, etc. — had been shrunk down into one portable app. And the best thing is that the price point of S$1.99 for the app is something that is very affordable.

Clouds on the horizon

And now for the sad part: The Gothere folks are only using this iPhone app to defray their server costs to keep the site up and running. With about 100,000 page views per day, their server costs do cost a bit. Plus the Gothere app is very localized to the Singapore market, which is not huge (about 400,000 iPhone users), and as a likely one-off purchase, it wouldn’t be a huge long term revenue.

Some of the founders of Gothere have now transitioned to a totally new business in developing applications for the iPhone platform.

“We need to survive,” said Junhan ruefully when I asked about their situation and their move from the mapping business to iPhone apps.

I’ve always been an unabashed fan as I like the genuine and scrappy folks at Gothere, but their lack of a viable business model worried me in the past.

And unfortunately, ever since big behemoths like Google maps entered Singapore, it has made the mapping business a really hard one to compete in. It’s an inherently unfair fight of four guys vs. a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Well at least the Gothere iPhone app seems to be a good idea, and there seems to be a decent amount of buzz in the social media space about their app. Hopefully it should bring in some revenue for the folks who worked on Gothere.sg for so long. They deserve it.

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3 Comments

  1. Alfred Siew says:

    I agree with you guys. I’ve used Gothere.sg on the Web, as well as talked to the chaps behind it. If there’s a bunch of great homegrown app developers worth backing, it’s these guys.

  2. edvarcl says:

    gothere is like a totally awesome app! it would be nice if telcos support them by preloading the gothere app on all new iphones

  3. Alvin Chang says:

    I second this “review” of the gothere.sg iPhone app.

    At $1.99, it’s a steal, and the app is excellent all around. Quick, smooth and loads up the info very very nicely.

    Very pleasantly surprised with its usability. Highly recommend this to everyone using an iPhone.

    A

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