Sep 12 2015
Seasoned travellers, have you written long lists of travel recommendations for relatives and friends, only to lose these scraps of paper or lose track of emails? Welcome to the 21st century with the Spottly app - designed to help you collect and share your favourite travel spots around the world, all in one easy mobile app.
We sit down to chat with co-founder Charlotte Chen - a frequent traveller and global citizen now based in Singapore - to find out more about Spottly, discover her top destination picks, and the travel essentials every frequent traveller needs!
Shop her curation here, to make sure that you never travel unprepared ever again.
Hi Charlotte! Tell us more about yourself and what you do.
I’m Charlotte, Co-Founder and CMO of social travel app Spottly, a community passionate about finding, collecting and sharing the world’s best places.
You're originally from Hong Kong, what's the transition to Singapore been like for you?
I previously lived in Florence, New York, Beijing, and had small stints in London and Sydney, Singapore is definitely different from all the other places I’ve lived in and it's been exciting to get to know South East Asia better and to meet new friends here. The city has been super nice to me and I love the slower pace of life here.
Have you discovered any favourite spots in Singapore?
Why of course! One of my favourite weekend brunch spot is Australian inspired Paddy Hills in the West coast, it's a bit out of the way but they serve one of the most beautiful ricotta hotcakes in town, reminds me of Melbourne favourite Top Paddock. Kilo Kitchen is my go-to for casual dinners of shared plates, their grilled broccolini with burrata is my favourite starters. The new Open Farm Community in Dempsey Hill is also a stand-out for an alfresco farm to table dinner, overlooking the fresh growth of vegetables and produce.
I work nomadically so The Working Capitol on Keong Siak is a great place to put my head down and pile through work in a comfortable and chic environment, where I can also schedule meetings downstairs at The Daily Roundup, while eating crepes and sipping cocktails (well, maybe on a Friday). I try to be healthy and get my sweat on at CruCycle at least every week. BeBe is my favourite instructor.
What is Spottly, and how did Spottly come about?
Spottly is a social travel app, a community passionate about finding, collecting and sharing the world's best places.Based in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore, our mission is to make travel research really easy; explore our Spottly community's travel guides and collections, save and discover old local favourites, new insider finds, places you want to go to or recommendations from friends.With insider networks from 15+ key cities curating the best places to eat, shop, stay and play, you can now find the best and most updated travel finds, on the go, wherever you go.
We aim to become Asia's most vibrant travel community, providing a fast, easy and visual way for you to plan and document your next adventure.Spottly has been featured on the App Store as a "Best New App" in 15 countries 6 times and is one of the first Asian travel apps available on the Apple Watch. As of June 2015, our Spottly Insiders have created more than 80,000 travel posts of places in +3,700 cities and 125 countries. Spottly is seed invested by Silicon Valley based 500Startups, Gobi Partners and Cherubic Ventures.
The concept of Spottly sounds really useful. How does using it better your life?
I am a huge travel research nerd and I used to compile pages and pages of listings prior to my trip, and print it on a piece of paper to take around. With Spottly, you will no longer need to do it in such an old school way. All you have to do is save down your favourite places, be it places you’ve been to or want to go to, all of your post are location aware, displaying useful information like addresses and phone numbers, and with our community’s travel content, you’ll be travelling like an insider in just a few taps!
What are some of the challenges in your job?
Trying to get someone to download yet another social network / app is a massive challenge and defining our unique strengths and allowing our users to derive immediate value is one of the things we are working super hard on.
On the flip side, what do you love about your job?
I love meeting new people from all walks and Spottly allows me to not just meet but collaborate with some of the coolest entrepreneurs and curators in Asia. I started an initiative called Spottly Insider, which started last October. We created a quarterly print guide interviewing 6 influencers about their favorite places to eat, shop, stay and play. We’ve already launched in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei and Shanghai and hope to be able to couple it with offline activities soon.
Which are some of your favourite destinations?
Hands down, Cape Town / Stellenbosch in South Africa for some surprisingly affordable city adventure and a vibrant dining scene, while you can take a 1 hour drive and get to the beautiful vineyards or if you want, pop by a mini safari to check out the Big 4s. I don't’ know what city can give you 3 distinctly amazing experiences in 1.
Thanks for curating a travel collection for us! What are some of your top travel picks (from the collection), and why?
Things surrounding the well being of my phone are very important when I travel.
This will keep my phone working the whole time around and I can jazz it up with the Eggs iPhone Case.
I like to get sh*t done so this notebook is a great reminder of doing exactly that.
What's in store for Spottly?
We will be launching doing more activations in Singapore to get more people to know about us. I have just launched our very first Spottly Insider event, part of our aim to bring cross city experiences to globetrotters and locals alike, to try restaurants and lifestyle locations from other cities without needing to hop on a flight. The Pop-Up was a 2-day food and music event called Hong Kong Cooking Beats, bringing ex-Gordon Ramsey kitchen’s Chef Russell Doctrove of Maximal Concepts Hong Kong to work with Chef Manel Valero of Singapore’s Kilo Kitchen for a night of food and music.
Where are you looking forward to travelling next?
I’m heading to London and Sardinia, then back to Hong Kong then Phuket later. I’m planning our Spottly Insider Magazine Bangkok issue soon and also heading to San Diego then Cape Town by the end of the year. I’m almost never in Singapore so I’m actually looking forward to staying at home!