Muchey, the start of a startup

Where it all started
Like most ideas, the idea of Muchey began with a problem. Luke (Muchey’s other founder) and I were on a birthday trip to New York, Dubai and then Phuket, random I know but they were all of Luke’s favourite places and I hadn’t yet been to any so why not!

As a newbie to all of three locations we did the typical tourist excursions. We found ourselves able to navigate around New York and Dubai with ease, choosing each excursion was simple because there were only a few booking agents offering each one.

Phuket, however, was another story, it turns out there are several dozen booking agents, and they all had varying prices. Luke and I being the savvy shoppers that we are, couldn’t ever settle for the first price so ended up spending 2–3 hours haggling the best price. No one wants to pay more than everybody else on the excursion.

The problem
So you see our big problem. We spent more time haggling prices than we did at the actual excursions. We couldn’t believe there wasn’t an app or site that was more transparent about the prices of excursions. Actually most of the travel booking sites charged more than the local agents.

True there are lots of travel review sites that share the prices paid in some of the reviews, but you would have to sieve through the reviews to find the random few and the date posted was 5 years ago!

The solution
So we, myself being a product manager and Luke a developer, decided to create a solution to our problem. An app that focuses on the prices others paid so you never have to spend time abroad haggling.

The hardest part, DATA
I thought of the name pretty quickly, originally I went for “howmuch” but that was taken, Muchey sticks now and we think it’s kind of catchy. The hard part was getting data, building a database from scratch with just two people was near impossible.

First we needed an API that pulled in enough data of ‘things to do’ around the world, to allow users to be able to quickly enter the prices paid. The second part of the data collection was to start uploading prices paid, otherwise the app would be useless.

Luke and I have been travelling for the last year starting in Southeast Asia so we had loads of prices saved up, we also asked friends to start archiving the prices they paid whilst travelling, for when the app was ready.

Our mission is to continue building the Muchey community and the number of prices uploaded in beta and beyond. I can understand now why Google has placed it’s faith and so much resource in data.

Where we are now
We’re in a good place now, we’ve designed a great user experience (we hope), we are at the final stages of bug testing the app and we hope within the next few weeks we will have the beta release ready.

Where we want to be
Our aim is to provide the pricing benchmark for all things bought abroad. We want users to be able to take the Muchey app (there will be an offline version) or check it before they leave, knowing the average price paid for an excursion, activity, or transportation, allowing them to use the app to haggle the best price or book through our trusted agents.

How good are your haggling skills?

Thanks for reading, we’re an early startup so if you have any tips, suggestions or just want to give us the thumbs up please do.

The beta app will be launching soon, so if you’re interested in joining the Muchey community and being one of the first to use our app, sign up below for early access.

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