There is no shortage of very new travel sites, tools, and social networks. It feels like every week a new one launches, raises money, or pivots. There’s Tripit, Wander, Wanderfly, Gogobot, Triposo, Gtrot, and probably ten others that will email me after I hit publish on this story.
Like I’ve noted before, it’s largely a land grab for users. I doubt many of us will join multiple travel inspiration/social/booking sites, and once the biggest one crosses a penetration tipping point, the rest will shake out.
Today a new one launched as a bit of a pivot: Tripl allows you to follow your friends’ travels as they post on various social networks, using geotagging to package it with maps and other info about your destinations. The site launched last year as a connection app for travelers (think WeHostels — formerly InBed.Me — for non-backpackers), but decided, while in the accelerator Dreamit Ventures, to pivot into its current version. Now, Tripl which allows you to follow your existing friends’ travel logs rather than meet new ones.
They’re calling it Shelby.TV for travelers. If that means nothing to you, then just think “automatic travel blog, created from your social streams.” The pivot comes as the company realized that users want simple social networks, not complex ones with overly rich functionality.
The company has raised $300,000 from New York VC firms High Peaks Venture Partners and Quotidian Ventures through convertible debt. Tripl is currently fundraising with what it called “some well-known VCs” and hoping to close its round after Dreamit’s upcoming demo day on August 8.
Tripl started in Sweden but now exists in New York. The seven-person team represents five nationalities.
Here’s how it works: You log in through a Facebook and/or Foursquare account. Then Tripl compiles a nice-looking log of your travels. My Tripl is fairly boring, but it accurately shows that I was at a wedding in Ohio last weekend and in DC for one the weekend prior. I was also in Mauritius and Dubai (yet another wedding), but I had no phone service, so there is no content from that trip, even though I uploaded a big batch of photos to Facebook. I keep most of my social activity limited to Instagram, so I hope that integration is coming soon.
Once more of my friends join, if they do, it’ll be populated with their travels as well. Of course, this only works if my friends are active Foursquare users and geolocation taggers on Facebook.
I hesitate to call it “beautiful,” because it feels like that word gets thrown around to describe websites a lot these days. I will say that it’s far easier on the eyes than your average Tumblr or Instagram feed and contains more useful information. Even though the designs and functionalities are slightly different, Tripl will give the yet-to-be-launched Wander a run for its money. (The biggest difference is Wander’s location tagging function which is a hashtag-like way of sorting mentions of places by throwing them between asterisks, for example, *Brooklyn*.)
And the social-travel land grab rages on…