Experience A City Like A True Local With Urbandig

August 21, 2011

11:56 pm

Ever traveled to a city and wanted to know the “off the beaten path” places to go and things to do? While there are a number of applications that help you find local restaurants and other points of interest, they all seem to fall short when it comes to local flavor.

The recently launched Urbandig application looks to answer that call by creating handcrafted local guides that contain little known things to do, eat, and drink at unique spots in and around a city. Urbandig is taking a page out of Frommer’s Travel Guide playbook to offer a mobile experience hellbent on bringing you the most unique local experiences.

Many apps rely on the wisdom of the crowds to share information about a city. This works great on Yelp and Foursquare or other similar services, but sometimes it’s nice to have a well curated list of the best places to go. Urbandig uses hand-picked curators who are experts about things to do, eat and drink in selected areas. These curators then help select the various points of interest and have crafted themed experiences like Best Dive Bars, Art in the Streets, Vintage Shopping, Food Trucks, and many more.

The app includes curator notes that provide things like what night to go, what to order, what’s the history and essentially, what’s up at different spots. Urbandig hopes to offer better recommendations than Yelp and Foursquare, thus giving users another perspective. However, like any recommendations, if you have very different taste than the curators, you may not necessarily like what they’ve offered. But at least it gives you a starting point.

Co-founder Mike Macadaan, a former colleague of mine at AOL and more recently head of product at MySpace, had this to say of the latest creation:

“Urbandig takes you off the beaten path so you can experience a city like a true local. Because our guides are crafted by subject matter experts, who live and breathe adventure, Urbandig is able to serve up trusted yet unconventional experiences that you just won’t find in any guide-book or by riding a double-decker tour bus.”

Aside from Macadaan, the bootstrapped team of founders and advisors includes Maura Rodgers of Bootup, Strutta and a few other startups, Danielle Lehman former MySpacer, developer Steve McKenzie, and Saul Colt of Freshbooks. Angel funded by Mike Edwards, Managing Director at Initio Group, the app currently serves Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver with plans to be in more than 30 cities by 2012 with an Android app also on the way.

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups.

Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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