Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand, with the interview available as both audio and a transcribed excerpt. This week he talks to Romer founder Emily Heazlewood.
We’ve all been there – being in a city and wanting to do the kind of stuff locals love, not the kind of places you’ll find tourist lines. But how do you cut past the dubious wisdom of a crowd and get those personal recommendations? Perhaps you could do it with an app that’s been described as the Tinder for things to do – Romer.
Although quite new, Romer’s been accepted into Vodafone One, picked up by tens of thousands of users, partnered up with the likes of AA travel, and has just announced funding from some big names in New Zealand tech, like Ben Kepes and our past guest Hadleigh Ford. To chat about the journey, the future and connecting people and experiences, founder Emily Heazlewood joins us now.
How did you come up with the idea for Romer?
I was travelling quite a bit for work between Wellington, Auckland and Melbourne and every time I got to places and had a few hours free, I didn’t know what to do so I’d ring friends or I’d reach out to people I knew who knew all the hotspots. It wasn’t really a scaleable thing. It was quite annoying having to do it every time. But it was amazing what I found. A friend told me about a really cool cocktail bar and this must-try cocktail in Wellington, and then another underground, hidden speakeasy in Melbourne.
[I realised that there were] all these incredible things that weren’t on these travel lists [which weren’t] about the experiences, it was about places. And it wasn’t personalised. So I think for me, it was seeing a gap in the market and that something needed to happen. I think we all want more personalised suggestions
And people love sharing those, don’t they? You’ve got your Tripadvisors and your Zomatos where people are out doing lots of public opinion sharing. But then when you say you’re off to Tokyo or something, a friend will go ‘oh I’ll send you a list of recommendations a friend sent to me!’
Yeah! And I think that’s what our goal is (combining the two). How do we incubate those really incredible suggestions and share them far wider than what family and friends can just do? I think there’s a lot of like-minded people in New Zealand and will have really good suggestions that would suit [a lot of people]. So it was trying to [find] a way to get those to you.
Environmental Innovation is the focus for this year’s C-Prize challenge – Callaghan Innovation is asking innovators to develop tech solutions with the power to change environmental outcomes. Business advice, mentoring and R&D expertise will support finalists to turn their concepts into reality. Follow the C-Prize journey.
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