Remember Bus Uncle?
The witty (and also useful) chatbot who brought you your bus arrival timings?
His founder, 25-year-old Abhilash Murthy, has another one in the works.
Together with his team, he brought a new chatbot to 54-hour hackathon Startup Weekend Singapore, where they won the top prize.
The winning idea?
Kecap, a localized travel chatbot based on Facebook Messenger who will be a virtual travel companion in Medan, Indonesia.
It can help travellers find activities and food, share local insights and tidbits, as well as plan itineraries.
Just like Bus Uncle, all users need to do is to send Kecap a message on Facebook.
Instead of Googling “things to do in Medan” or “what to eat in Medan” and scrolling incessantly through multiple tabs of websites, you can turn to Kecap.
A mock up of Kecap. (Screenshot from Kecap)
“We didn’t want to create a website, or an app because the functionalities of a website/app show you a long list of things you can do,” said Abhilash.
“It requires mental effort from the travellers to actually browse through of things they can do or things they can eat at the destination.”
As his team consists of experienced travellers, they all felt that they had the best travel experiences when they had a local friend to show them around in a foreign country.
Which can be really useful when you’re in a foreign country and you’re too lazy to Google everything.
Or when you just want some authentic, local experiences that are not tourist traps.
The chatbot currently only provides info about Medan, but there are plans for more destinations. “We’re trying to choose a place that’s more popular and well-loved,” said Abhilash.
For Abhilash, as opposed to creating apps or websites, he is now focused on creating chatbots.
He discovered during his experience with Bus Uncle that Singaporeans loved talking to him, and he enjoyed developing him to allow more interaction with the users.
Kecap is currently in the midst of development and has not officially launched yet.
Watch this video to learn more about Kecap and Abhilash:
You can catch interesting stories of other dreamers with entrepreneurial spirit and courage here:
Matching Dreamers is a video series collaboration between Mothership.sg and GIC where we highlight individuals and teams who have courage and the entrepreneurial spirit, and help aspiring entrepreneurs find other like-minded dreamers.