How It All Started
Meet Rob Koh, CEO of TripRadius, an app that eases the pain of sorting out every travel minute. Based in Seoul, Korea visitors to the city can hire a tour guide in real time. Much like hailing an Uber, TripRadius shows its users active local tour guides in their vicinity. Whether you’re looking for Korean BBQ, trying to navigate the slew of K-beauty products, or stumbled upon a gem of a neighborhood and want to explore it in full, TripRadius will send you a guide in a matter of minutes. Moving beyond traditional scheduled tours of select city itineraries, TripRadius is ultra convenient and catered to the needs and whims of each traveller.
In 2010, Rob was working on Wall Street as a bond trader, and needed a holiday from the tension of the U.S. credit crisis. To get far from it, he visited North Korea. He climbed the nationally cherished Baekdu Mountain and swam in ‘Heaven Lake,’ the crater lake that sits at its summit. The beauty of the Korean landscape left an impression. When a North Korean tour director asked him if he wanted to join the team and work as a tour guide, he agreed. In the course of one year, Rob flew in and out of North Korea, leading nine tour groups holding twenty to thirty people each with a glimpse of the reclusive nation, until its hospitality for tourists wore out with imprisonment of American missionary, Kenneth Bae, for his alleged plans to overthrow the North Korean government. Despite closed doors, Rob was intent on continuing on and headed south, to Seoul. There he joined platforms to provide guided tours to Busan, Jeju, and the DMZ. His zeal for guiding visitors throughout Korea, landed him the 2014 Viator award for the best tour guide in the world, attributed partly to the high-selling tour he created named ‘Gangnam Style.’ Spurred by these accolades, he created www.koreantourguide.com. He wanted to create a platform where Korean tour guides could interact with its users. Learning from the feedback of his guides and users, he wrapped up all that he gained from the tourism industry into his new app: TripRadius.
Since the 2017 launch of TripRadius, Rob has been continuing to add more local tour guides, mostly university graduates who are trying to make their way into the competitive South Korean corporate sector. He targets guides with high-functioning English language levels, to ease the communication barrier for visitors. TripRadius is continuing to gain traction to make it to its tipping point, where supply and demand for tour guides will make this app truly what it was made for: the ideal travel service that’s anytime, anywhere, and anything you need.