Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

MiniTime: Kid-Friendly Trips, No Station Wagon Required

How do you connect online dating and traveling with kids?

Ask the team behind MiniTime. It’s a new site that says it can help families book vacations using ratings, filters and algorithms that work a lot like the ones that power Web dating sites.

Not a coincidence: In a previous life, MiniTime’s founders ran a group of dating sites eventually acquired by JDate, the Jewish dating site.

Back to present tense: MiniTime is essentially a kid-focused version of TripAdvisor, with filters that are supposed to steer you to appropriate hotels, etc., based on the ages of the children you’re bringing with you. There are also community reviews, along with a smattering of content.

This seems like one of those categories someone would have tackled a long time ago, but CEO John Smelzer says most kid-focused travel sites are content-heavy and listings-light, and won’t do much to help you find and book the stuff you need. (Fact-check, Rafat?)

The site is also worth paying attention to because it represents a mini reunion of Yahoo executives. Smelzer co-founded ad network 5to1, which was backed by Ross Levinsohn, who had worked with Smelzer at News Corp.’s Fox Interactive. (News Corp. also owns this Web site.)

Levinsohn bought 5to1 during his tenure at Yahoo, and Smelzer stuck around for about nine months after that deal closed. Now Levinsohn is a MiniTime investor — he’s one of the backers in the company’s $1 million seed round.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus