Citibuddies: The Digital Compass in the Urban Jungle

Posted on December 12, 2012 by Vivi in EXPAT

Citibuddies is a new platform to connect people that share common interests.  This highly interactive connection platform can be used by locals and travelers alike, to discover new places and people based on shared interests.  The site is a forum for events, locations and activities all curated and rated by real people, and sorted based on user-selected interests.  It is an open social network that unites users based on shared interests, opening up a world of new possibilities.

Citibuddies makes different cities accessible to travelers through personal connections.  Users can share experiences, connect with other users with shared interests, save money by not having to pay for services, and gain new friends.  Citibuddies has infinite potential for sharing, connecting and experiencing more authentic tours of the city, with cultural exchange and authentic, local perspectives.  With Citibuddies, a user can be a local, anywhere.

Citibuddies is another awesome Buenos Aires startup story.  The company was founder by Darja and Aidan, two entrepreneurs with international backgrounds and a passion for travel.

citibuddies-darja

Darja was born in Russia, raised in Germany, spent a few years in California and studied for her PhD in Holland.  Three years into her PhD she was craving more stimulation so she took her savings and started traveling.  She hit fifteen countries in a year, jet-setting across the globe from Africa to Argentina.

Her travels included a visit to Los Angeles, where the seed for Citibuddies was planted in her mind.  Seeing LA not as a tourist, but through the local perspective of her friends was a completely different type of travel than staying at a hotel.  Her friends shared the city through their local eyes, providing Darja with a richer experience through the sharing a personal view of the city.

And so the idea for Citibuddies was born out of this desire to experience a new city through the eyes of a local.  The concept could easily apply to locals in the same city, who want to break up their routine and learn more about their own city.  Darja spent long hours honing this concept, talking with mentors, and researching.  She knew the idea had great potential, but she knew that the idea alone was worth nothing.  So where does a would-be entrepreneur start?

Darja started with a start-up deck, a bare-bones presentation of the concept for the company, the problem for which it offered a solution, the potential market and the competition.  She continued to research, working with friends and developing the idea for three months.  Then she met Aidan.

Citibuddies-Aidan

Aidan also had an international background.  Originally from Bulgaria, Aidan studied in the USA and spent summers working in Alaska.  Upon graduation, he made up his mind to complete a masters degree in International Economics and Business in Holland.  He saved up, was admitted and accomplished his goal, all in a years time.  Accomplishing a venture that had initially seemed daunting gave Aidan the confidence to take the leap into an entrepreneurial venture.

Aidan was introduced to Darja through mutual friends in Holland, where they were both studying.  She pitched him Citibuddies, and they remained in contact.  He assisted her on the project while they were looking for funders.  After a few weeks, Aidan realized he was working twelve to thirteen hours a day on Citibuddies, and loving every minute of this unpaid, non-official position.

So Aidan followed his instincts and made the jump and he and Darja went full time.  They shared a passion for this business idea that was centered around leaving the comfort zone and worked together to build this platform to share insights and local expertise.  The final product would be an apathy-curing customized adventure, and a new spin on a personal network.

Both Aidan and Darja had strong academic backgrounds and had considered taking the corporate route.  Instead they decided to take the hypotheses learned in academia and test them out in the real world.  They chose Buenos Aires as their flagship city for the project.

Indeed, many internet based startups come to Buenos Aires to begin.  Stating that Europe had an over-saturated market with higher competition, Citibuddies targeted emerging markets and countries with opening borders.  Knowing that inbound tourism is set to boom in South America in the next several years, and a large percentage of Latin America’s population lives in cities, this seemed like an ideal location for Citibuddies to launch.  Companies like CouchSurfing grew in Buenos Aires, partially because of the open use of social media among the population.

Buenos Aires offers great resources to aspiring entrepreneurs.  The open culture makes it easy to make friends, contacts and connections.  Argentina has an undeniable culture of giving and sharing as well as a very entrepreneurial population of locals and expats, alike.   Although Darja had established networks in California and Germany, the more individualistic cultures mean that people aren’t as willing to do things for free, and when starting a business on a budget, this can make a world of difference.

Citibuddies has now gone live!  This personalized event and people discovery service is a pandora for exploration.  Through Citibuddies anyone can be a local anywhere.  Locals and travelers who wish to discover people and events outside of personal circles, based on things they love must check this out now!

Curious?  Check it out now.  Citibuddies.com 

 

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