Interview: Connecting Tourists to Tour Guides –

by / ⠀Entrepreneur Interviews / June 12, 2011 is a new startup based in New York City that connects local and visiting tourists to professional and amateur tour guides within a city. The startup currently only serves New York City but has big plans to expand over the summer months. We got the chance to talk to co-founder Keith Petri about the company and it’s future plans.

Could you explain the problem iGottaGuide is solving?

The tourism industry is fragmented and hard to navigate with a massive amount of information and options available. The best way to experience a new city is like a local without spending much money.

How do you find your local guides and who can be one?

We initially reached out to “professional” tour guides to help fill the site. For example we have 1 guide who drives around in an old Cadillac Hearst and takes 7 people at a time around NYC showing them places where famous NYC deaths have taken place. However we’re aiming to have current college students, young professionals, artists and actresses who come to the site and say, “I am knowledgeable about X”. They can then bring that unique knowledge to the site and its users.

Who is involved on the project and how long have you been working on it?

There are many people involved however I am a co-founder with Michael Griffiths who is on the web development side while I focus on the business development and marketing.

We have been working on the idea for about 7-8 months but have just recently launched the full site.

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Many young entrepreneurs have a difficult time finding technically partners. Where did you find your co-founder?

We went to college together and he was a contract developer at one of my old businesses. Then I brought him on as the co-founder because he believed in the concept of iGottaGuide. I knew I could not fund the development side of it so I had to find a co-founder on the technical side. We had worked on contract jobs for about a year together which built trust and helped us understand each other before actually becoming business partners.

Could you explain the revenue model for iGottaGuide?

As of right now we charge 15% service fees on every transaction that happens through the website. However in the futuere we plan on reducing this to just credit card processing fees and becoming a fully ad supported model. I don’t want to say to much about it but basically we will be able to serve highly targeted ads to our users

Do you have side projects or is this your full-time work?

Since this is still self-funded I still have clients that I consult for at my company So I still have my managerial role at that company where I help small businesses work with social media. However my plans are to move to iGottaGuide full-time in the future.

What are the future plans for iGottaGuide beyond New York City?

We plan to expand city by city rather then open it up worldwide at anytime. I have a personal goal to be in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC by the end of summer. My team thinks I’m a little crazy but I’m full steam ahead on the project.

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Could you leave us with one piece of advice for young entrepreneurs today?

Don’t be scared to ask for help. I thought I was ready to create a startup by myself but I quickly realized that I don’t have all the answers. No online resource can provide all the answers only personal connections can help you go from step 1 to step 2.

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