Zodio, the Thailand-born startup founded by Jai Govindani, is a company that aspires to be the Yelp of Asia. Launched in Thailand, it plans to expand to the Philippines, and then to the whole Southeast Asia region within the next year or two. It has received seed funding from Sparx Ventures and is looking for series A funding within the next few months to finance its regional rollout.
The concept of Zodio is almost the same as Yelp. It will provide places or points of interest (through partnerships with map providers), and users will bring content in the form of reviews (ratings and text reviews) and check-ins. What differentiates Zodio though, is that for each place you can see the overall rating and a separate ratings from just your friends.
To fuel the urge of users generating the content, the company is using a gamification element built-in with points and awards. Awards (or badges) can be earned by fulfilling/achieving certain criteria, at the same time there are also user awards that can be given from one user to another for generating good content. (e.g. ‘Rockin Photo awards’)
I do have some doubt whether the expansion can truly cover all of Asia because if we look at the site right now, most of the content is in Thai. Jai said that they will provide features to filter reviews/content by language as well as plugging in a translation API to provide rudimentary translations. Localization will be on the entire platform too to provide native UI for each countries. I would say they have a tough journey to expand and localize. Some countries already have a Yelp already (e.g. Indonesia’s Urbanesia or China’s Dianping), but we will surely keeping an eye on Zodio.
P.S: Thank you Quora!