You’ve probably heard of CouchSurfing.com and Airbnb, two (relatively) new travel sites that let anyone play host to people traveling around the world. Half the excitement with sites of that sort is the serendipity in meeting someone new from a different culture and sharing experiences together.
Now, yet another travel startup is working on a ‘hospitality’ platform for matching hosts with travelers, but they’re taking it a step forward by letting people meet even if they don’t want to share a space together. And they’re getting funded.
Social travel site Tripping.com announced Monday that it has closed $450,000 of a planned $1 million seed investment round led by Quest Venture Partners (QVP) with participation expected from other “micro-VC” firms and super angels.
Tripping leans more toward the CouchSurfing model than to Airbnb, since hosts are not expected to be compensated monetarily. Instead, it’s all about the experience. For those not particularly keen on having a slumber party with a complete stranger, the Tripping platform still wants to match people together for different kinds of meetups. The company suggests exchanging language lessons, having a coffee or showing off your favorite city spots.
In conjunction with the funding, Tripping has exited beta so it can start expanding its membership more aggressively. The site, which launched in 2010 and is currently available in more than 130 countries, has already attracted thousands of users. Much of the growth so far has been viral, with over 45 percent of new members saying they found out about the site through a friend.
Additionally, Tripping has partnerships with over 30 organizations forming communities on the site. (The largest has 18 million members.)
Seeing Tripping raise this first funding round is interesting especially because rumors have been floating around for awhile that the most prominent player in the space, Airbnb, is close to raising a $100+ million round that values the startup at over $1 billion. And Wimdu, affectionately dubbed a European Airbnb clone, just closed $90 million.
The new funding will be used to fuel growth and marketing globally.