Three years ago Anshuman Bapna, a former member of Google’s Strategic Partnerships team decided to form a team of his own. His new company was a convergence of eclectic talent that happened to be united by two things – an “addiction” to travel and an undeniable urge to be superheroes. I’m not sure how the team is doing on the super hero front (though for the record I think more companies should provide their employees with capes) but they seem to be carving out a name for themselves in the world of travel. Bapna and his team built Mygola, a new platform for travelers that revolutionizes the way itinerary building is approached.
Bridging the two roads of travel
Bodhisattwa Debnath, whose job description at Mygola includes blogging, analytics, and curation, points out that an interesting dichotomy has formed in contemporary travel branding. One camp is made up of “bloggers, adventures, and backpackers” whereas the other is more of the discount hotel-finding variety. Mygola made it their goal to break this vacation killing polarity and come up with a product that allows people to plan incredible vacations that are tailored to both the users’ budgets and travel goals.
Before Mygola, travelers had to buy books and piece together their own itineraries. Even planning through googling can take up too much time. Obviously searching online for information is part of vacation planning, but Mygola makes the whole search process more efficient by compiling a pool of data from hundreds of preexisting guidebook itineraries. Using (soon to be) patented algorithms, and input from freelance curators, the app provides users with customized, doable travel plans that exist in realtime.
What makes Mygola stand out from the pack is that it doesn’t stop at providing an itinerary – it also pulls images from another database to giving your outline some serious visual appeal. It seems like the team has really thought about their product from the big picture to the details, because they even include hours of operations, exact addresses, and feedback from actual travelers who have already taken that part of the trip themselves. Taking it one step further you can even make purchases through Mygola. The site could soon be the one-stop-shop for multi-stop vacations.
Mygola: the fine line between detour and adventure
Signing up is free, and super easy if you have a Facebook account. After signing up, users type in a location and are greeted with a bunch of itineraries with gorgeous and engaging visuals. The itineraries vary in length, cost, and scale but all are customizable (this is step two of the process). If you’re planning a trip to Rome for example you type in the city and then choose plans that are centered around specific locations or time constraints. If you’re in Rome for two days, Mygola gives you a solid plan based on everything from New Times articles to input from travel bloggers. This isn’t just convenient, it’s a confidence booster. Users can make more informed choices on what to do, and can do this in a fraction of the time it normally takes. Plans change, Mygola’s itineraries can too. You can rework your plan on the road, in real time, which lets you turn detours into adventures.
They also offer super customized support. For 30 bucks you get to ask as many questions as you’d like (about a single purchased trip) directly to the team of travel geniuses/superheroes. On top of having a top notch service, they have a company blog that’s actually worth reading. It’s full of travel stories, travel and business tips, and insight into what running a successful startup is really like. I’m clearly not the only person impressed by this site, over 2 million people have utilized the site to plan their trips. This combined with a solid product could explain why Mygola has raised $1.5 million in funding during their Series A round. They clearly have the numbers to back them up, beyond the stats it’s cool to see an app that is as pretty as it is useful.