Oh Hey World: mobile web startup saves you a lot of effort
When you land in San Francisco for a conference, what is the first thing you do when you leave the gate? You whip out your smartphone and tell Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook that you’ve landed in SF and you add something witty about the weather or the bad airline food. Then, you text your spouse, your business partner, and whatever friends are in town and tell them you’ve arrived. That’s a lot of work for one weary traveler. Enter Oh Hey World, a mobile website now in private beta, created as a centralized location service that not only shares your safe arrival with friends and family, but connecting you with people nearby, wrapping up all of your scattered activities into one easy place.
Oh Hey World’s intuitive check-in process across multiple services simplifies the travel experience, and the site’s innovative community interface acts as a discovery tool for travelers to connect with new faces over shared interests. Currently available via mobile web, email or text, native iOS and Android applications are in the works for Oh Hey World.
“Fragmented location sharing has been a problem for a long time,” said Co-Founder Eric Roland. “Our team knows this problem first-hand, and so we created an easy way for travelers to update their location across all channels – both publicly and privately – and to really ensure those who care are easily notified of their safe arrival.”
Bonus: connect with locals, other travelers
The site’s other key solution is to help travelers connect with other travelers in each location. The platform allows users to view their Facebook friends who are nearby, as well as connect with community members over shared experiences, passions, values, and affiliations.
Co-founder Drew Meyers has spent five years involved within the microfinance industry building myKRO.org, and he notes, “I traveled around the world for two and a half years and my one regret was the knowledge that there were so many missed connections in each place I visited – with Oh Hey World, we created a solution to the frustration so many travelers experience on the road.”
Meyers notes that the tool is helpful for business travelers “because it provides the opportunity to see who is nearby and reach out to anyone they may not have remembered to schedule coffee or drinks.”
Inspiration for Oh Hey World
Meyers tells AGBeat that the inspiration for Oh Hey World dates back over two years when he lived in Santorini for the summer with friends. “We had a great community of expats we hung out with everyday, but it just irritated me that there were so many people visiting the island and yet I had no insight into who they were or when they were arriving to meet the ones with shared common passions, experiences, or interests.”
“The missed connections continued to frustrate me over the next 2 years traveling,” Meyers added. “Really, the origins of the idea come down to one primary premise. Oh Hey World was started because you never know who might be interested in where you are.”
So what did it take to get the project up and running? Meyers says that as with any startup, the challenges to getting the product to market were numerous. “The first mistake we made was doing our first design for the web, rather than mobile,” Meyers tells AG. “We self corrected that and ripped up our whole site in January to build a mobile-first experience. The other delay was spending a fair amount of time working on a native iOS app prior to having our mobile experience clearly defined (on the plus side, it won’t take us long to finish our native app once we get back to development given the underlying architecture is already built). That said, after 7 months of work, Oh Hey World is ready for a broader audience.”