A Chat with Will von Behr, Founder and CEO at Travel App: Urbs


Urbs is a city exploration app with original audio content written by cultural experts; maps, navigation, and customisable routes; and tickets to all the best museums, galleries and attractions, so you can skip the queues and make the most of your holiday. The platform currently covers 11 cities across Europe, including Paris, Rome, and Lisbon (with more coming soon!)
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How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Whilst I was on a trip to Rome, I realised that tourists had to use multiple separate platforms to discover places, learn about them, and book experiences. I found new spots and interesting locations with blogs and place recommendation apps; I got directions with navigation tools; I hired a tour guide, read a guidebook, or trawled through the internet for information; and to book a related experience, I had to use one of the major ticketing websites. It was surprising to encounter such a disjointed user experience in this day and age.

Fed up with guidebooks and Google searches, I decided to build Urbs, which offers the world’s most complete city experience. I realised that modern travellers don’t want to meet at a certain point and follow a well-worn route around the city centre. Instead, they want customisable experiences and information on demand. That’s why each cultural location on our app contains a 3-5 minute audio description written by an expert that brings the place to life. Travellers can access the right information at the right time, at the touch of a button, and consume it in their desired format.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

We’ve spent the last two years developing our iOS and Android apps and building out our library of cultural content, which now features over half a million words and more than 40 hours of original audio content. We’ve been lucky to work with more than 80 talented freelancers from places like Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Condé Nast Traveller, Eater and Forbes, who have helped us produce fascinating descriptions of Europe’s famous landmarks and cutting-edge art galleries and offer over 1,000 recommendations for restaurants, bars, cafés and shops throughout our target destinations.

Though delayed by the pandemic, we finally launched our product at the beginning of this year and the user growth and engagement has been really encouraging. We’ve spent no money at all on user acquisition; it’s all been organic, which is very exciting.

What can we hope to see from Urbs in the future?

We’re about to start our pre-seed funding round, after which we’ll be able to develop some of the exciting new features that are in the pipeline, including a totally reimagined Home Page, as well as plenty more cities across Europe and, eventually, the world.

Our vision is to enrich the way people experience cities, inspire travellers to learn about other cultures, and make complex knowledge accessible to all. Hopefully one day you’ll be able to open the app wherever you are, and we’ll have you covered.