Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Topguest Checks In With $2 Million Series A Round (And Peter Thiel as Adviser)

Topguest, a check-in loyalty service that was founded just five months ago, has gotten $2 million in Series A funding, as well as nabbing well-known Facebook investor Peter Thiel as an adviser.

Investors in the round include: Thiel’s Founders Fund, as well as angels such as Ron Conway, Keith Rabois, Jeff Clavier and Naval Ravikant.

Topguest is exiting its beta phase today with partners that include Virgin America, Hilton, Wyndham Worldwide, Kimpton and others.

Using Topguest, those companies can offer deals, making large travel and hospitality loyalty programs social by plugging them into smartphones and geolocation.

Users check in with their existing services–such as Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook Places and Gowalla–in order to get benefits such as air miles for your Virgin Elevate account and hotel points for Hilton HHonors.

Topguest is competing in a crowded market, where a lot of such services are offering many kinds of deals.

The San Francisco start-up is most like another service aimed at retailers called Shopkick, where you get points when you check in to its mobile app.

Topguest said the differentiator is that it links into geolocation services already in use, instead of requiring another different check-in and offers points in already existing loyalty programs.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik