GottaGo is a free app that lets users find public restrooms nearby across malls, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, railway stations, and museums etc. The restrooms are displayed on a map or list with the distance from the user’s location and directions of how to get there.
The idea was born when the founders recognized the importance of finding a clean restroom when traveling within the city with friends and family. With increasing commutes, traffic and lack of clean public infrastructure, travellers often find themselves searching for a restroom nearby.
“We started a website that listed information of restrooms area-wise on a website called p911.in back in 2010. With the smartphone medium, the experience got better with detecting the location of the user using GPS and then directing the user through navigation that they are already familiar with,” says Kunal.
GottaGo was founded by Kunal Sheth in 2010 as p911.in. He has over 18 years of experience in managing technology solutions for digital products and services for some of the biggest media companies in India. He had founded two companies, Software Wizards and WebIT back in 1995 and 1997 respectively. Before starting this venture, Kunal was working as Head-Tech R&D at Times Internet.
When Kunal created the first version of the app and circulated it among friends, he got positive feedback from them. Especially women with young children found locating a clean and hygienic restroom nearby through their mobile devices, a boon.
“With the growing risk of infectious diseases such as urinary tract infection or other infections, we wanted to only list the cleanest options available. We had a few evangelists in every city go and check out these places before we listed them.We also built user feedback into the app which allows users to rate the options provided once they use the facility. They can also let us know if a restroom isn’t working any more or is shutdown,” Kunal added.
GottaGo currently lists over 10,000 restrooms mapped across malls, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, railway stations and museums etc in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, and Chennai and they plan to expand to other cities over time. Kunal confirmed they are currently not monetising the app in any manner and are seeding the product and aim to build a large user base. The app has been developed and built so far through personal funds.
How it works
The app detects the user’s current location through GPS and finds the nearest accessible restrooms. Users can also search by street, suburb or place name.
Once the user has selected one of the available options, the apps guides the user to the restroom through a customised route map.
- Display nearby toilets in a list or map interface.
- 1000s of toilets listed and geo-located with address and direction guide.
- Ranking by users and the expert team.
Others in this sector
While we did not come across any other players in this sector in India who were using technology to make public restrooms discoverable online, on a global stage Airpnp is also in the same sector. Airpnp functions similar to Airbnb and allows users to list their restrooms on the platform and charges users who wish to come and use it.
The team is working on adding more restrooms and entering more cities. They found that though 70% of the toilets met the cleanliness standards for men, they were not up to the mark for women. So to tackle this, they are also planning to provide more customised search results for women.The app is currently available to Android users and the team is in the process of working on an app for iOS users.
Related read: World Toilet Day: 20 facts about sanitation you must know
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