Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

First Class Ticket: Social Travel Start-Up Gogobot Raises $15M in Funding at $70M Valuation

Gogobot, the social travel site, said it has raised $15 million in a funding round led by Redpoint Ventures.

Sources said the valuation for the Silicon Valley start-up was around $70 million.

Gogobot said it would use the funds to expand its business. Battery Ventures and CrunchFund also participated in the financing round. Currently, the company’s revenue is mostly tied to lead generation based on its user recommendations.

“We really think we have a lot of momentum in the space and we want to keeping pressing forward in pushing social travel,” said Gogobot CEO and co-founder Travis Katz. “Travelers want to share their experiences and it is a trend that is only getting larger.”

To compete with rivals such as TripAdvisor, Gogobot recently released a number of new features, such as an Apple iPhone app and Trip Portfolio, a scrapbook experience via collections about different destinations.

The company, which launched late last year, has raised $4 million in venture funding from Battery Ventures, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors and angel investors Chris DeWolfe, Keith Rabois and Oren Ze’ev.

Here is a video interview I did with Katz last year, talking about the site, followed by the official press release:

Gogobot Announces $15 Million in Funding Led by Redpoint Ventures

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 3, 2011) — Gogobot (www.Gogobot.com), the world’s largest social travel site, announced today that it has completed a $15 million round of funding led by Redpoint Ventures. Gogobot will use this new financing to expand its global footprint through marketing, partnerships, and outreach.

Gogobot transforms how we explore new places and capture and share our travel experiences by allowing users to harness the power of their social networks to exchange trusted travel advice and share trip plans and rich visual travel memories. This announcement comes on the heels of the launch of Gogobot’s mobile app available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, which is currently a Top 10 Travel App in 31 countries around the world.

“With its unique offering and seasoned management team, Gogobot is the industry leader in the social travel space. We believe with its vision and timely and unique service, Gogobot is poised for exceptional growth,” said Satish Dharmaraj, general partner of Redpoint Ventures.

Gogobot users can browse reviews from friends as well as share their photos, reviews and other details about the places they stayed, dined, and traveled on the Gogobot site. Gogobot automatically packages these elements into magazine-style albums, allowing friends to experience your travels with you in real time, see a map of where you were when you caught that sunset, or even make a reservation at the hotel where you stayed.

“Travel is all about discovering new experiences and sharing them with your friends and family,” said Travis Katz, Gogobot co-founder and CEO. “With this new funding, Gogobot aims to continue to grow and pave the way for a new era of travel — harnessing social media to provide users with trusted, insightful, and enriching reviews at the tip of your finger.”

Battery Ventures and CrunchFund also participated in the financing round.

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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