Archana Patchirajan & Sonpreet Bhatia, MyCityWay: Mobile platform for urban exploration and discoveryTeam YS
Every city poses many unique challenges to its residents. Finding one’s way about through different mobile apps is one solution. But MyCityWay is the one-stop, location-wise platform that binds all the apps together.Unlike a mobile apps developer, MyCityWay brings together all the apps one could need in order to discover, connect experience and share one’s city life. As a unified platform, it studies your intent and inputs on various apps to give you real time help in living a more enriched life in your city.
Founded in 2009 by Sonpreet Bhatia, Archana Patchirajan, and Puneet Mehta, MyCityWay was envisioned as a business idea to create a better way of navigating and living in New York. YourStory spoke to Archana to learn more about this innovative platform and what it means to users and apps developers.
How would describe MyCityWay in about three sentences?
Useful for locals and visitors alike, MyCityWay is an interactive tool for urban exploration and discovery on your mobile device. Bringing together more than 50 local mobility apps in one interface, MyCityWay is a one-stop, location-wise platform to discover, connect, experience and share. Acting in real-time and driven by user-profile info, the app is now available for 40 cities worldwide.
How is MyCityWay different from other navigation/urban reference apps?Mycityway is not an app. it is a platform. It studies you and the way you use the app to give you recommendations. It connects your social graph with location and intent to help you live more efficiently in your city.
What led to the creation of MyCityWay?
After years of running to catch the train, scrolling through hundreds of restaurant recommendations, and stepping outside to find the weather ten degrees colder than it appeared, Sonpreet, Puneet and I decided to build a better way to navigate New York City (NYC).
MyCityWay was founded in November 2009 with the first version of NYC Way made available after 40 days (and nights) in December 2009.
Tell us about your backgrounds.
Since I moved to the U.S. in 2004, I have held senior technology roles with various Wall Street firms. Before co-founding MyCityWay, I was a senior consultant with Citigroup. Born into a family of serial entrepreneurs, I’ve always believed that innovation is the key factor in facilitating large transformations. I’ve been deeply passionate about developing unique technology that can be put to practical daily use by all and that led me to co-found MyCityWay.
Sonpreet moved to the US in 1999 to pursue her Master's Degree. Before co-founding MyCityWay, Sonpreet worked as a Vice President with Merrill Lynch / Bank Of America. After a successful career on Wall Street, she decided to be an agent of change and co-founded MyCityWay to build groundbreaking technology, help create jobs and ultimately, contribute to the economy.
Puneet has held senior technology roles with Wall Street firms since he moved to the U.S. in 2000. Puneet worked as a Senior Vice President with Citigroup before following his passion as an entrepreneur with MyCityWay. He has years of experience in running innovative technology initiatives. Puneet's passion for smart urban living and the contribution that technology could make on that front led him to co-found MyCityWay.Where do you see handset-based navigation, urban referencing apps and MyCityWay five years from now?
Five years from now, mobile devices will become one of the most important parts of your life! You may not be able to do things without it. Everything will become digital and mobile. Your government will connect to you via mobile. It will be end of paper and book guides!
What is MyCityWay's revenue model?
We tie up with 40 different partners, ranging from hotels booking to purchasing movie tickets. The business model partly relies on highly targeted local ads and revenue share from hotel booking, movie tickets, tour booking, restaurant reservation, deals etc.
We understand that MyCityWay has been funded. Can you throw some light on that?
We’ve recently raised $5 million in a round of VC funding led by BMW i Ventures, FirstMark Capital and IA ventures. BMW i, a VC company founded by the BMW Group, makes early and mid-stage investments in high-potential startups in the area of mobility services. Both FirstMark and IA are VC firms based out of NYC.
As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?
The joy of serving the community has no bounds! We finally get to live our dreams of doing something that we are passionate about. The challenges are many. Keeping up with the competition, discovering new things on a daily basis, keeping yourself updated with everything that’s going on, lack of sleep, lack of family interaction etc. are some that come to mind readily. But it is all worth it!!
How big is the MyCityWay team? Are you looking at hiring?
Well, we have the 3 founders - Puneet, Sonpreet and I. We have 10 people in USA spread across the the functions like business development, product management, etc. We have about 40 people in India. And yes, we are planning to hire in India and USA.
Tell us about your plans for expansion.
We are present in over 50 urban markets across USA, Canada, Europe and Asia. We have 1.8 million users and the most popular buckets are dining and night life. By the end of 2011, MyCityWay will be in 120 cities across the world.
We at YourStory wish this innovative startup all the very best. To know more, check out www.mycityway.com. Also, do share with us your thoughts and comments about this story. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.