Life’s most interesting journeys are about more than the fastest way to get from Point A to Point B. While there are plenty of navigation apps to assist you with maneuvering your way through city streets by car, those traveling by foot have had a dearth of options—until now.
Whether you’re traveling at home or abroad, exploring an unfamiliar city or just running errands in your own hometown, Sidekix will help you make the most of every step of your expedition.
RewardExpert spoke with Jenny Drezin, CMO and one of the company’s three co-founders, to find out more about the inspiration behind the app, how it works, and how any traveler can use it to discover new places on foot.
The Sidekix Inspiration
Created by and for people who enjoy walking, Sidekix was founded in 2015 by Drezin and her partners Miron Perel (CEO) and Eli Baram (CTO). Together, the three have logged hundreds of thousands of miles touring cities across six continents on foot.
“I’m originally from New York City,” Drezin said. “I was always a very urban person and loved exploring cities when traveling. But whenever you go to a new place, you always wonder. What am I missing out on?” Her desire to get to know the myriad layers of each urban area she visited was the inspiration behind Sidekix and the app’s interest-based routing platform.
“I believe that going different routes and seeing different neighborhoods is a great way to explore a city,” she continued. “And walking is the best way to do it. You can really feel the vibe, smell the smells, and eat the foods when you’re on foot.”
At present, Sidekix’s staff consists of eight permanent employees and associated contractors who work on expanding the number of cities included in the app. As of December, travelers could use Sidekix in more than 100 metropolitan areas around the world including Barcelona, Madrid, Toronto, Boston, Washington, DC, Jerusalem, London, Amsterdam, New York, Rome, Paris, San Francisco, Berlin, Vancouver and more.
“Not every currently available city is listed on our website,” Drezin added. “We’ve expanded more quickly than we originally expected, and it has been hard to keep up. We’re making Sidekix available in a few new cities every week.”
Smart Navigation for Walkers
So, what, exactly, does Sidekix do? “We call ourselves a smart walking navigation app. The idea is that most navigation is utilitarian. It’s about getting you from Point A to Point B the shortest or fastest way,” according to Drezin. However, when you are traveling, or have extra time, the shortest route may not necessarily be the only thing you want.”
To satisfy a user’s thirst for discovery, Sidekix offers a choice of routes that integrate opportunities to indulge in a variety of interests from art and culture, to shopping, cafes, nightlife and more.“You tell the app where you want to go, just like with any other navigation tool,” Drezin said. “But Sidekix then offers you a number of routes based on the cool things around you. If you’re in a really busy urban area, it might offer you as many as six different route options.”
A smart algorithm culls the data from a multitude of online sources including Google and Facebook. “We have a system that essentially verifies all of the data between multiple sources to make sure it is accurate,” Drezin noted. “It’s automatically updated on a continual basis.”
Sidekix users can also personalize their chosen route to include specific destinations.
“If, for example, you’re going to meet a friend and you need to take out money from the ATM or buy a bottle of wine,” she said, “you can tell the app that is what you want to do and it will build a route for you that incorporates those errands.”
Drezin says the app is just as valuable for travelers abroad as well as exploring your hometown.
“If you think about it, if you live in any big city, you may never get to know every part of it,” she explains. “I lived most of my life in New York City but there are so many neighborhoods I have yet to explore. I went back there a couple months ago, and walked through neighborhoods in Brooklyn that I had never been to before. The app encourages you to become a traveler in your own city as well.”
With Sidekix, You Don’t Have to Walk Alone
Whether you’re near home or on the other side of the world, you can also use Sidekix to update your friends and family on your location.
“Right now, you have the option to have someone walk with you virtually in real time,” Drezin says. “You can share your entire route as you are walking or your exact location at any time.”
Future developments will further enhance Sidekix’s social features. “The ability to create, save, share, and follow routes is something that’s going to be in our next version that will be released in the next few months,” Drezin adds. “For example, you’ll be able to share your route on social media.”
What Else Can Sidekix Users Look Forward To?
Sidekix’s developers are also working on content to allow for thematic routes that travelers can follow to further immerse themselves in a number of locations.
“This includes a Harry Potter route in London,” Drezin says, “and a Seinfeld route in New York. These will be routes from a set Point A to a set Point B, with other thematic points along the way. I think it’s going to be a very cool addition.”
Travelers can download the free iOS version of Sidekix or try out the unreleased beta version for Android. The full Android download is expected to be available in early 2017.