Blog
20 May 2016

Un weekend à Paris

  • by Benoit Germond


Début des Internationaux de France 2016 à Roland Garros




Si pour vous aussi, le début de Roland Garros rime avec soleil, bien-être, et détente, c’est la bonne nouvelle de ce weekend. Dès Dimanche (22 Mai), les plus grands joueurs de tennis du monde vont s’affronter pour décider qui gagnera la fameuse Coupe des Mousquetaires tant convoitée. Cette année sera-t-elle la bonne pour Novak Djokovic, finaliste des deux éditions précédentes et qui n’a jamais remporté Roland Garros (le seul grand chelem qui manque encore à son palmarès) ? Nadal reviendra-t-il à son meilleur niveau après sa victoire à Barcelone contre Nishikori le mois dernier ? Gaël Monfils ou Jo-Wilfried Tsonga arriveront-ils à offrir le tournoi à la France qui l’attend depuis 1983 et la victoire de Yannick Noah ? Cette édition 2016 n’a jamais été aussi ouverte et malin celui qui connaît le successeur de Stanislas Wawrinka.

Read

15 March 2016

Looking for pretty and beautiful streets in Berlin?

  • by Javi Gonzalez Liquete

It’s Berlin time!

As we continue talking about these pretty streets that we love in each of the cities covered in http://www.pretty-streets.com/en/prettystreets/, this time we wander in Berlin. So which streets did we find the most beautiful in Berlin? Here’s a stroll through this most historical city full of precious places.

Allow us to start with the most popular streets, right on the beaten tracks. Our first stop is the famous "Unter den Linden". It can undoubtedly be considered as the center of Berlin, known for its many shops and the ever high number of tourists and Berliners constantly walking around.

As we continue in the unmissable ones, the next one is "Kurfürstendamm", one of the ancient avenues of the Federal Germany, the most famous one in the city, known for being a top shopping center. Then moving on to other great avenues of the city, in this case belonging to the former Eastern Democratic Republic of Germany, two of the most impressive av...

Read

11 February 2016

Most pretty streets in Barcelona

  • by Javi Gonzalez Liquete

Dear city walkers,

As promised a couple of weeks ago, we are going to start posting some (hopefully) useful articles with our selection of the most beautiful streets in the different cities which have their map of beautiful places in Pretty-Streets.

For this first article I will wander in the generally warm and charming streets of Barcelona, Spain, which I love and know well. So I made the following list of places to visit there, to help your city discovery.

As a must see, you can start your walk in "La Rambla", possibly the most famous street in Barcelona. Fair enough, it's not a secret place and you may find it full of tourists looking at the streets shows and animation. But it's fun and worth it. The other most famous one to visit is "Rambla Catalunya", full of tourist restaurants and with big cafes with outdoor seating to enjoy the Spanish weather and in the nearby "Passeig de Gràcia" full of stores, you will find all the international brands in the same...

Read

20 January 2016

Pretty Streets New Year Resolutions

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

It's a new year, it's a new dawn, it's a new life... And we have made a few good resolutions. For a start, we'll start to be more active on social networks. You can already follow us on Facebook and twitter, and we'll work on pinterest and instagram soon, we're long overdue. That's our "let's get the word out" resolution.

Not only that, every week we are adding new cities to our map of beautiful places. So if you miss a city where you would like to spend a weekend with Pretty-Streets, you just have to write to us and we will be more than happy to add it to our list. That's our "let's do this together" resolution.

And from now on, on this blog, we will actually start speaking about our passion: beyond technology, practical, "feet on the sideways" city discovery. What streets and places we liked in particular. We'll also ask for opinions, so if you have some favorite places, let us know. And that's our "Let's share practical tips on this blog" resolution.

I've...

Read

23 December 2015

Happy holidays and peace for all

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

The past few weeks have been amazingly busy. We’re still on our mission to help everyone get the best discovery walks for their taste and time, in cities everywhere.

So we added many new cities. More than 20 actually, so go check them out!

We also added the possibility to create your favorite places (image of the web version illustrating the post), so you can make a shortlist of what you want to view. Very handy when you prepare a visit to a city.

We resumed the work on the Apple Watch. Admittedly, I wasn’t too fond of our first version. It was too slow so I didn’t want to release it. Now the new SDK is out there, and a new watch is probably coming next spring, with ideal timing for great walks, we gotta get ready...

We’re also doing a lot of back of the scene work. Adding many new cities takes a toll on our architecture. And we got to the conclusion that when we reach a hundred cities (and that will come fast) we may hit a wall. So we’re a...

Read

12 November 2015

Monster Walk & 50 partners

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Nope, the Monster Walk has got nothing to do with Halloween. It’s an app evolution, with our idea of the ideal visitor walk in a city. Like the Freedom Trail you can follow in Boston, with a red painted line on the ground, but in the virtual app world. It is monstrous, because sometimes, since we want to go through all the most beautiful spots in the city, the walk can be looooong. We’re starting to add them, city by city, so you will see on the map a visible trail of crumbs to do that great walk in the unknown city you’re in. As usual, let us know what you think, we can improve this with your help.

But this month, we’re also super proud to have been selected by 50Partners.fr to be part of their accelerated startups. It is very rare that this highly selective accelerator (about 1000 candidates in a year, about 10 selected in the end) chooses a pre-revenue startup like ours. We really are excited to work with these great people.

Oh, and also, at a personal le...

Read

01 October 2015

There’s no business like app business

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

We’ve been busy. We got some great media (thanks Le Figaro and Lucie Ronfaut for the great article, being on the front (ok, of the economy section) page of one of the major newspapers in France is no mean feat, so we’re proud and happy, and it got us immediately great attention. We also got maddyness, and appnews among others saying kind words about us.

Aaaaaand we also won a European Youth Award, http://eu-youthaward.org/winner/pretty-streets, no less, in the Go Green category. They had this great statement about us, thank you guys: "The Jury thought this was a simple yet elegant application. We really liked the way the app could be visualised in a number of cities with more being added by the week. When judged against other applications, this particular submission stood out as a celebration of all things beautiful in the cities we visit and also those which we are perhaps over familiar with. A neat premise which can be easily envisaged and applied. We could all see ourse...

Read

04 August 2015

Iterate, iterate..

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Since June 30th, we’ve posted no less than 4 versions. UX improvements by the ton (thank you Axel, for your great work), many cities added (French cities, since the app is for now only open for France).

But we’ve actually started receiving nice messages from US residents, like Jake from New York "It is so sad that this app is not available in the US Apple store. Many of us travel extensively and having this app available would be more than appropriate.”.

Ok Jake, we’re working hard to get to the “good enough” level of quality, so we can open in the US app store, the plan is for this Winter!

We’ve also done a dedicated web version in responsive design (image for this post), so you people from everywhere can at least start to use this, just click on the Map button, and give us any feedback you’d like!

And now, on to 2 weeks of nice holidays, Chateaux de la Loire and Italy, out of big cities this time, for a little while. A bientôt !

Read

30 June 2015

Soft launch of Pretty Streets app

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

That’s it. The Pretty Streets app is now available! Ok, only in the French app stores (iOS and Android) for now. But we’re beyond getting friends, and friends of friends, to test it out. We got 6 cities in there, Paris, Montreal, New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.

Just because these are the cities where I tested it out, directly. So I hope it can now be useful to other people than just me.

We’ve sent the world out to our friends, but also participated to a startup contest this month, the app awards. The funny thing is, although we didn’t win, we’re the only non winner that actually got mentioned on TV, in the important télé matin broadcast. So the concept was likable enough, and also we saw immediate impact on our traffic. Thank you guys!

Now we’re processing the feedbacks. Axel is joining us for 4 months, to work on the user experience, meet our users, and include their feedbacks. Please let us know how we’re doing and what we can i...

Read

21 May 2015

The San Francisco Chronicles

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

After visiting friends in Sonoma, and doing the road trip through Muir Woods, here I was again, years later, in the big city I had originally discovered through the eyes of Armistead Maupin.

The charm of the city struck me again, possibly even harder, as I walked and ran through it, testing our app, discovering pretty streets with murals, or stumbling haphazardly upon the very street that inspired Barbary lane in the Chronicles.

At this point I thought : we still have things to improve to offer the ultimate city discovery app, but the path is getting cleared, and I feel we’re getting somewhere.

Beyond participating to the SF startup ecosystem, even if only for 2 weeks, going to meetups like UX speed testing and getting great hands on feedback, I was also lucky enough to meet some great entrepreneurs, like Joost Schreve, former founder of Everytrail and now in charge of mobile at Trip Advisor, or Jack Gonzales, founder of Mapjam. People so full of energy and...

Read

08 May 2015

Chicago: Keep scratching

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Remember how we said Chicago was to be real interesting for testing?

Well it started tough!

Just when I wanted to start testing, we had an issue as we started cleaning development and production environments. All our images disappeared. And beautiful itineraries stopped working. Damn. It was sorted out swiftly by Benoit and the team. Back to testable a few hours later. But then, as I started exploring this incredible “upstanding City" I had never visited before, I started better identifying and listing what I wasn’t yet finding in Pretty Streets that would help me as a first visitor.

I simply wanted to know what not to miss and what to start with. What I felt I lacked most at the moment was:

- Better key content: we have the best spots, but not all the descriptions yet. Also on top of the 'best around me', we need to add 'the truly unmissable' so we know what the ‘city best of’ is, which you really don’t want to miss. On this City I knew ...

Read

05 May 2015

SLP Power

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

As I came back from Cape Cod, looking forward to go walking the parts of Boston that our Pretty Streets finder selected as great places but that I didn’t know well, or had forgotten (like parts of the South End or Jamaica Plain), a few things happened:

- Startup Leadership Program founder Anupendra Sharma introduced me to the SLP groups of Boston, but also Chicago and San Francisco (my 2 following stops), springing a lot of great contacts. Thanks SLP! As an added bonus I got to visit Lab Central, an amazing SLP fellow initiative to foster biotechno reseach.

- Thanks also to old colleagues and friends, I spoke with truly great people at the Venture Cafe, and got new insights as to user experience as well as on potential partnerships.

- Last but not least on the entrepreneurial excitement scale, Pretty Streets got featured on Betalist and got a great amount of beta sign ups (close to 100) from all over the World. Even before opening the beta, we already recei...

Read

29 April 2015

Boston: Memory Lane

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

A few years back I lived and worked in Boston. This was a busy, often challenging period of my life. But as I arrived from Montreal into the blooming city, familiar places started to echo on me, with a deep (and slightly unforeseen) attraction.

As I wandered the Leather District, Waterfront, North End, Commons, Back Bay and Beacon Hill, I ended up on bits of the Freedom Trail, and was reminded that this line on the Boston pavement was one of many inspirations for Pretty Streets.

Meeting with old friends and colleagues, whom I could count on to be totally honest with me, I kept on getting the same feedback: it’s a great idea, I would use it, surprised no-one has done it yet. Well, I still think it’s because it’s actually quite hard to do technically at a scalable level, and also because the economics are not obvious. We think we have a good angle on how to solve the 2 sides.

Back on it soon, but first on to a Cape Cod break with my (much) better half Ar...

Read

28 April 2015

Montreal: Beta version available!

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

‘Spring' takes on a whole new meaning as I land in Canada. 25 April IS cold here (circa. 2°C or 35°F), but Montreal citizens are so glad to be out of snow after an exceptionally cold winter that they seem totally fine with the weather. My friends Michel and Valérie, with whom I’m staying, actually take me for a PICNIC in a park… Anyhow, people themselves are so warm that I feel very happy to be here.

Benoit calls me with breaking news: the beta version of our app is available for testing. Anyone registering on the site from now will quickly receive an invitation to download it on their smartphone. So if you’re interested in giving it a try, please don’t hesitate, and remember that we’d loooove to get your feedback!

And now I’m off to testing the app in the streets of Montreal and meeting good people. Be in touch!

Read

24 April 2015

Pretty Streets and the City

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

The New York experiment has been going on for 2 days. Carine and I have been walking, running and City Biking up and down the streets of Manhattan, from Tribeca to East Village, through the meatpacking district and Central Park. I have to admit to a few rushes of totally feel-good pride when Pretty Streets actually enabled Carine to DISCOVER new nice places and streets in her own neighborhood. I got first-hand feedback on the app from Carine, and, well, I also have to admit to having compiled a decently-sized list of hairy bugs and necessary user experience enhancement to discuss with Benoit.

I also met with Startup Leadership Program fellow Quentin and program organizer Tej. Thanks for the time and the great advices guys. It was also good to have an informal meeting with NY Techstars Director KJ, and get a better view on what matters and what to expect from a program such as Techstars.

I’m on my way to the airport, about to leave New York, ready for the next stop o...

Read

19 April 2015

Testing Pretty Streets, other side of the Atlantic

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

The sun is rising on NYC. I’ve been looking at the ceiling for the past 3 hours. I’m obviously jetlagged, but I’m mainly undergoing an attack of bona fide entrepreneurial panic…We’ve never tested our app outside Paris so far: is it going to prove its worth this side of the Atlantic, with a purely algorithm based content?… I give a testing run to the webapp from my bed for now, but I can’t wait trying it in the open. My friend Carine is asleep on the other side of the unit. Well, that is really 4m away in this very cute (but not so large) Tribeca unit.

As the town wakes up, we decide to start the day with a run. Faithful to my Pretty Streets vow, I ask the app for a looping route. Our 'pretty streets finder’ (our home-made, breakthrough algorithm which analyzes the probability of a street to be pleasant for walking) suggests an itinerary that works well, according to Carine who’s lived in Tribeca for a couple of years. The suggested route, which mixes the Huds...

Read

02 April 2015

SLP Paris - April's Demo Day

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Yesterday evening, the Paris Chapter of the Startup Leadership Program which I participated in had its demo day in Paris, in the beautiful place of the Village by CA.

Over 50 Parisian based investors were present. 7 selected Paris startups among the 36 which participated to the program had 5 minutes to convince. With also 3 SLP fellows from other chapters, Shaun, Ilya and Hernan.

The startups were Cyberwatch, La Grande Serre, Coupon Roller, Pretty Streets (Yay!), Muzic Apps, Skippair, Valwyn and Ticketscloud.

It's the day after and we already have several positive feedbacks and requests for decks.

I want to seize this post's opportunity to deeply thank the SLP for these energetic, interesting, friendly month in the company of great individuals, fellows and organizers.

Organizations as the SLP help entrepreneurs grow, question, and remain positive in the face of inevitable entrepreneurial doubts & adversity. Kudos and appreciation to the who...

Read

12 March 2015

America, America

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

As our app is getting into its beta testing stage, I’m preparing a tour of some great US Cities: New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco. With some flexibility for other places if any good meeting comes up.

And this not forgetting our French speaking Canadian friends from Montreal!

I will be meeting bloggers, journalists, potential partners and angel/seed investors. Even though our app is fantastic :) I don't expect a red carpet at all, and if there is a potential this will likely be just the first trip before others. All tips are welcome.

But first, I will test app my app on the ground, and enjoy the walks in these great places!

PS: if you plan a trip like this one, and before I give some experience feedbacks, here are a few posts really worth reading (which may dampen expectations of first timers like me!):

http://www.techfounder.net/2013/06/29/the-abc-of-raising-your-seed-round/
http://bestengagingcommunities.com/2013/02/09/how-mu...

Read

05 March 2015

Oslandia: the geo-expert team

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Today Benoit and I had a nice open lunch with Vincent Picavet from Oslandia. It’s a privilege to share with kings of the mountain mapping experts (these guys are active contributors to the postgis database, the most efficient geo db, and have been working on openstreetmap projects for a loooong time).

It was also very interesting to talk about their latest project, tempus, “a framework for multimodal route planning ».

We checked it out. Amazing work you did on this guys. We’ll definitely give this a shot in the future.

Read

20 February 2015

Don’t get lost in algorithms!

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

After several good discussions with Jean-Marc Godart (founder of Yourtour and mathematician expert in geo-algorithms) and Valérie Janssens, we have now tested what seemed to us like the most promising algorithms.

It’s about finding how to optimize your itinerary not for speed or distance efficiency, but for time and maximizing the number of points visited.

We’ve tested classic gaming pathfinding algorithms (dijkstra/A*) with tortured heuristics.

We’ve tested Martins, Ant colonies, Traveling-Salesman. We’re now within the orienteering maze (thanks Jean-Marc for pointing us there).

We are taking some combined approaches, because we find that different situations call for different algorithms. Celia may write an article about this if there is an expressed interest for it.

For now, we're finding our way in the maze!

Read

09 February 2015

Team 4

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Celia and Thomas have joined our engineering team today. Full time. After a bit more than 6 months helping us part time, we can’t tell how happy we are to have 2 super bright minds, already knowing well the project, join full force in the adventure.

Improving the Pretty Streets finder and our time itinerary algorithm are their next frontiers.

We’re happy!

Read

23 December 2014

The very first pictures of our app

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

After God knows how many iterations since we found our app design was not good enough, it seems we've got somewhere.

At least, the latest user testings of our invision fake prototype went well for the likability and understandability of the app design, with positive feelings of would-be users and beta testers.

Sebastien, who has now moved from Paris to Tokyo built them up after a lot of efforts.

Here are a few screenshots in all their naked truth. Hope you like them, but if you don’t, don’t hesitate to let us know it will help us grow.

And now, back to my Provence hometown for some great family time!

Read

16 December 2014

An aha moment?

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

After a good discussion with Bruno Raillard on User Experience (and he tells me this is not his forte, makes me wonder how he is on his forte...) I think we may be on to something interesting.

We’ve been dancing around how to present our app, and which functionalities to push first.

Currently, we offer 3 options to our beta testers:
1- Custom itinerary (adapted to the time you have)
2- Freestyle (just use the map of beautiful places to orient yourself)
3- Top itineraries (the most liked pre calculated itineraries). Turned out, as mentioned in a previous blog post, this approach is too abstract, and unclear.

While discussing with Bruno, at some point he simply asked me to redefine what were the biggest use cases. And it came out like this:
1- I know where I’m going (I just want the best path to go there)
2- Surprise me: I just want a quick stroll near where I am
3- Give me ideas: I want to choose destinations suited to my tastes...

Read

25 November 2014

Smartwatch: it's time!

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Thanks to our 3 EPITA MTI students, Nicolas Julien and Chahine, we now have a prototype of Pretty Streets working on Android Wear (precisely on Moto360).

Still work to do but it points us towards the pretty streets of Paris efficiently enough.

A first step towards the smartwatch evolution. And real excitement at Porte d’Italie today (that’s where the EPITA is located, and where Pretty Streets has set up its office for now)

We truly believe smartwatches can be great stroll companions. As an Apple user, I'm now eager to use the iOS watch proposition.

Read

05 November 2014

The baby stroller conundrum

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Several people suggested that we should adapt our stroll itinerary technology so that it can fit other, mobility-related needs. This ranges from bicycles, baby strollers, to wheelchairs.

Aside from our generic answer, which is “let's get one thing well done first”, I’m giving this some thoughts.

On the wheelchair suggestion, which seems the most complex to us (need to know the height of sideways, the slope, etc) we have been talking with Claude Dumas from the CEREMH (innovation center on mobility and handicap) and Damien Birambeau leader of jaccede.com which is the main portal for reduced mobility accessibility in France, to determine if our application and technology could truly be useful to Persons with Reduced Mobility.

Damien gave us a very encouraging testimony. We also have had engaging talks with the Reduced Mobility mission manager and the Tourism Office from the Mairie de Clichy (a stone throw away from Paris). Thanks to all these people who g...

Read

15 October 2014

Users make wiser…

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Trying to go through lean customer development to dig our UX problems further. Among the few books I checked, I once again recommend the one from Cindy Alvarez, both practical and to the point. Good job.

Thanks to Veronica, Francesco, Sebastien, Laurence, Andreas, Holly, Lea…, thanks also to all the Startup Leadership Program Paris fellows who spent time providing insights on how they walk in cities, and what would be useful to them.

It’s sometimes really hard to make a synthesis of contradictory orientations (some don’t want to see maps, some want to see a map as soon as possible…).

So we’ll try to give clear choices, preserve flexibility, and test.

Working with only mockups, it seems we’ve now reached the limit of our learnings, and need to test some interactive approaches.

Read

01 September 2014

How the h*** does this work?

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Let’s be honest, so far our user experience is poor (had to fight not to use a S word).

But like really.

We can’t even bother to use it. It’s just too slow, and techie confusing.

Beyond the technical issues, it seems that it just doesn’t solve the problem of finding the prettiest itinerary, because people don’t understand the app, and the itinerary is not engaging enough: people do not even believe it’s going to be good.

So back to basics. We’ll run ongoingly a new series of user interviews from all origins, trying to match the main personas (user types) we identified or discover new ones.

We’ll try some new mockups too. Let's become crystal clear!

Read

15 August 2014

Live from Paris!

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

For now, our Pretty Streets finder technology is not ready yet, so to test our itinerary algorithm, we have built the map of Paris Pretty Places manually. Think of this as the knowledgeable someone using a highlighter pen over a map, to point out where you should go walk in priority.

This took us about 9 days (thanks Alberto Ayala and to my friend Michel for the great help), gathering our souvenirs, reading guides, checking blogs, but we think that someone like a guide knowing his city inside out could probably go 3 times faster.

This doesn’t question the relevance of building a scalable Pretty Streets Finder, because we want to go global fast, but it was still an interesting experience, mapping out our hometown.

And to see the beautiful itinerary go live (ok, with a loooot of bugs) is still a very exciting step.

Read

02 August 2014

The HTML5 vs Native debate

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

This debate is getting about as old as the proverbial Microsoft vs Apple vs Android wars. As a disclaimer, we made a call in favor of a start with web technologies, so we are arguably biased.

But as a startup, in terms of ability to iterate fast, maintenance of one single base of code for iOS, Android and others, testing UI on the fly on a web interface, choosing html5 was obvious.

Sure thing, native will come and it will open many performance doors, and for offline maps, we’ll most probably need it. But for now we think our user interface needs getting somewhere, and it's easier with fast and easy iteration.

Thanks to HTMLBurger for helping us out. These guys are really good at what they do, I can wholeheartedly recommend them.

Want to get in the pre-alpha? Check our app and let us know what you think. All interface feedbacks are welcome.

Read

25 July 2014

Seed loan from the BPI

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

This is a huge step for us. The BPI (French Public Investment Bank) has granted us a loan of around €130K to launch Pretty Streets.

This allows us to secure our technical resources, which is crucial for us to be able to launch a ‘good’ product by spring. The countdown for our launch has started, but it became possible only thanks to the BPI. So again, our gratitude to that French institution, where good stuff can happen for entrepreneurs, full of ideas but slightly on the broke side...

We also want to thank everyone who helped with their insights in the past few months, including our Talent du Numérique mentors.

We also want to thank Maurice Gopikian and Jean-Patrice Anciaux from Paris Business Angels, and the Femmes Business Angels network, for their very useful feedbacks on our project.

And now, let's get to work.

Read

21 July 2014

Pretty meets Google

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Today we met with Google people in Paris.

Very approachable and open minded people. Encouraging discussion. They even offered to have our app tested by Paris Googlers when it’s ready.

Unfortunately, as optimistic as we can be we’re not there yet, but it still was great to talk about the project with these mapping-pros and see that they were receptive, and that google does a lot to help entrepreneurs with several startup packages.

Read

08 July 2014

Yahoo!, or not Yahoo?

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Yahoo just talked about an initiative similar to ours. We read their paper with great interest. A bit of an anxious feeling too thinking “if Yahoo does it full force, do we still have a chance?”.

After reading their article, we still think we do.

A- they either go for a manual, human based photo/streetview rating system

B- or they go for Flickr photos with apparently no handling of false positives, and with a semantic system we have some doubts about (in our experience people comment mostly the beauty/quality of the photo, not of the place which is photographed. In the right light, with the right kind of talent, a horrible walking place will be hailed as a magnificent picture, resulting in a “pretty place” with this system).

But overall we wholeheartedly agree on the approach, and hopefully who knows, we can exchange at some point in the future.

Read

20 June 2014

First designs

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Starting from a blank page, Sebastien, our Artistic Director, has come up with a first, clean design of our app.

We’re still testing it, but we like it a lot.

A lot of work remains though, on the map in particular. Far too much confusing information there.

It’s an incredibly complex topic, I’ve filled up a 10-page document listing the challenges we face. Hopefully we’ll simplify it down to the “of course” level. At the moment that one seems ‘pretty’ daunting.

Read

26 May 2014

+6, in a single day!

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Today we have pitched in front of EPITA last year student groups for 2 topics, on which they could help us as part of their “End of studies company projects”.

We have been fortunate enough to get selected by two groups (out of the 40 companies who had applied, only 7 got selected). The topics these young & smart engineers will help us out on are:

- Android Wear: we believe smartwatches can be the perfect tool to help on a stroll.
- Advanced Algorithms: the challenges we have around itineraries and determining where the pretty streets are, are not trivial. 3 bright young students will help us out there too.

So welcome to Célia, Coline, Thomas, Chahine, Nicolas and Julien. The ‘Pretty Team’ is building up! Great day for us!

Read

20 March 2014

Pretty Streets turns 42

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Well not really. Even though I am pretty close to 42 myself. We’ve just been accepted in the Startup 42 accelerator program.

There will be 7 startups, including Pretty Streets. The program will last 6 months, during which we’ll work on our technology, and refine our product, and get support from the school and Daniel Jarjoura, who organizes the whole thing (thanks!).

This accelerator is located in the EPITA school of computer engineering, where Benoit, CTO & cofounder, studied, so he knows the place pretty well.

Read

14 March 2014

What’s a pretty street anyway?

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

One of the unique aspects of the app we have in mind, is that it’s NOT all about POIs. Sure Points of Interest matter. You don’t want to miss the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building when you visit the city for the first time.

But often the occasional narrow street, without a landmark, monument, or famous place, but with ambiance, will make your day.

So we just want to make sure, while you go from POI to POI, that you walk through as many of these charming streets as possible.

Now, how the heck are we going to do that?

We identified 3 possible ways:
1- manual: either ourselves, users, or professional guides, would determine what are the pretty places, like we could use a highlighter pen to show on a map where to go in our city to one of our friends
2- automatic: based on big data (ha! here’s the most overused expression of the past 5 years), run a pass on where the most likely “pretty places" are
3- a mix between the two
<...

Read

26 February 2014

Do we have a problem?

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

About City Visits, we have analyzed, to the best of our ability, a mix between our own experiences, results from interviews with people who like walking, both tourists and residents. Always trying to dig: are we trying to solve a real problem? Like real real?

After all, people do manage to visit cities today without our help. But hey, they also could move around before google maps or smartphone came out. So where does that leave us?

People globally enjoy the same things when they visit a city, or go strolling. Great places. Major “do not miss” on first visits. Special “experience” places. Picturesque streets. Quiet, and authentic places. They just like a good stroll.

They mostly don’t enjoy preparation, reading guides, making long lists of things to see and preparing maps. Some do, and enjoy reading guides. These ones are not our target. Just like the ones who’d never use a smartphone for orientation.

But overall, when we asked 100 people...

Read

15 January 2014

AIMA: check!

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Our technological proof of concept, nicknamed "the WizWalk" is done. It works, you can set a time, and get a personalized itinerary built respecting that time constraint.

To our knowledge, there is nothing out there available doing this.

Kudos to Benoit for getting us there. That’s one less show stopper, many are still ahead but we are intent on celebrating one victory at a time.

Thanks again to CFI and BPI for supporting us in this initial innovation phase. Now onward to the next phase: make a first usable product.

Read

01 September 2013

Startup Money: support from French BPI and CFI

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

We have received the support of the BPI (French Public Bank of Investment) for proving we can deliver our unique itinerary algorithm. Not A->B in the shortest time, but A->A in the time you choose, running through the optimal number of points and areas of interest.

France is a strange country. It’s often reviled for being not entrepreneur friendly. Truth is, as often, more complex. Among all the complexity, and insufficient incentives for Business Angels, the BPI does its best to support SMEs. Our thanks also to the CFI (Paris Region Innovation Center) and in particular Romain Vallée for the quality of their work during all the instruction process.

We can now hopefully prove our ability to deliver a complex time based algorithm.

Read

30 June 2013

So what is Pretty Streets about?

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

First, we believe in movement and discovery. We believe they are good for the body, and good for the mind.

We believe exposing ourselves to beauty makes us more balanced and happy.

And we believe that the easier it is to go find beauty, the more we are all likely to do it.

The way we live our belief Benoit and I is by walking through our cities, in the most beautiful and engaging places we can find.

We want to help everyone experience this, by providing the only app you can ask to find the optimal walking routes, not optimal for time or efficiency, but for the pleasure of the walk.

We want to give everybody the opportunity not to miss out on the beauty around them.

Get their daily intake of discovery, by providing the best apps to find the optimal walking routes, not optimal in terms of time, but for the pleasure of the walk.

Pretty Streets, landmarks, monuments, parks, pedestrian ways. Based on you, the time you have, wher...

Read

02 June 2013

Who is Pretty Streets

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

Like many stories, it all started with a meeting, between Benoit and I (thanks to David Leroy for introducing us). We found out we had the same grand idea of making cities of this world easier to discover, to roam, to enjoy.

And hopefully the right complementarity to make it happen.


Who am I?

Well, i’m Fabrice Gibelin, the initial narrator of this blog (other team members will take part too), the CEO & cofounder of Pretty Streets. We created this startup to help you find your – beautiful – way in cities everywhere. To the question “where should I go to discover this city?”, we will provide a tailor-made answer, based on your location, the time you have, and your tastes and preferences.

Prior to Pretty Streets, I worked since 1997 for fantastic companies such as Blizzard, or the BetClic Everest group, as Marketeer, Product Developer, Strategist, and Operations guy. So, after being an ubergeek (got for a short while the second best rank...

Read

01 June 2013

Why this blog?

  • by Fabrice Gibelin

This blog is meant to be an open window on the life of our startup. Never hesitate to ask questions, or post suggestions. We’re a small team with a dream project, and without you, users of our apps, readers of our blog, we are nothing.

This is written in English, not our native language, just because this is the international lingua franca. And we hope to interact with people from all over. So forgive us for language mishaps.

Read