Goby raises $2.5M for events-search engine

Faith Merino · October 21, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/12e3

The search engine for local activities is backed by Flybridge Capital Partners and Kepha Partners

I’ve fallen in love with Goby, a search engine designed exclusively for finding things to do in your locale.  I don’t think I’ve ever fallen this hard or this fast for a website, but…I think this is the real thing.  Goby, do you believe in fate?  Apparently, I’m not alone in my love for the activities-based search engine: Goby has just raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from Flybridge Capital Partners and Kepha Partners, bringing the company’s total funding to $7.5 million.

What is so uniquely awesome about a search engine for activities?  Go to Google and type in “rock climbing in Sacramento.”  The search results will turn up with a couple of climbing gyms, some lists of California facilities, and a few dead links.  But on Goby, I can type in the same thing and specify when I want to go, and it comes back with an organized, aggregated list of climbing facilities, outdoor climbing locations, and climbing events.

Running a search on Goby is as easy as typing in the activity you want to do, where you want to go, and when, and the site will return with a list of events, facilities, and resources fitting your specifications.  It also looks in nearby areas so you aren’t just limited to major urban centers or specific zip codes (for example, my rock climbing search turned up a few results from other areas near Sacramento).

Or you can leave the activity box blank and just see what’s going on in a given location at any given time by browsing through a number of activity categories, including outdoor recreation, family fun, live music, arts and culture, and more.

In addition to the activities themselves, the site also provides phone numbers, addresses, and reviews from the Web.  How does the site aggregate so much specific information?  According to the website: “We create a rich information model that provides semantic organization and lends structure to unstructured data. We can search, sort, filter, map, and contextualize heterogeneous web data…Instead of just giving you a list of Web pages, we convert all those pages into human-friendly information, so you can see things like locations, phone numbers, photographs from around the Web, links to nearby points of interest, and so on.”

The company has grown to 500,000 unique monthly users in July from 50,000 in January, and Goby has launched mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android earlier this year, bringing in 500,000 mobile users.  The Boston, Mass.-based company launched in September 2009 and makes money through a traditional advertising model. 

“Brands are looking for ways to connect to consumers with strong intent in a location-based manner, and goby provides a perfect platform for connecting to targeted audiences as they’re making their decisions,” said Goby CEO and co-founder Mark Watkins in the company's press release.

The money from the latest round of financing will go toward developing the company’s mobile platform.  Somewhere down the line, Goby hopes to add social recommendations to the site. 

The site was co-founded by Mark Watkins from Endeca, Vince Russo from Lycos, and MIT professor Mike Stonebraker. 

Image source: lh4.ggpht.com

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs



Joined Vator on

Do you find planning your free time frustrating — hopping from site to site? Searching for the needle in the haystack of irrelevant and incomplete results?

Goby is a search engine dedicated to helping users spend less time searching for and more time doing the things they love to do with their free time. Simply tell Goby what, where and when, and we surface the best results the Web has to offer in a way that’s easy to understand and use. Whether you're looking for a fresh hiking trail to tackle, something fun to do with your kids, a romantic bed & breakfast or a live show to check out this weekend, you’ll find it on Goby! Plus with Goby you can easily sort, filter, map and save searches, so not only will you discover fun new things to do, you’ll also find yourself with a lot more time in which to do them. Create your next adventure with Goby.com.


Mark Watkins

Joined Vator on


Vince Russo

Joined Vator on