Experience marketplace SideTour raises $2.5 million in Series A-1

By Erin Griffith , written on March 25, 2013

From The News Desk

New York-based SideTour has raised a new Series A-1 round of funding worth $2.5 million from existing investors RRE Ventures and Foundry Capital, said CEO Vipin Goyal. The round has room to add an additional $500,000 according to an SEC filing.

The company launched in June 2011 to offer curated one-of-a-kind local experiences through an online marketplace. After graduating from TechStars NYC, the company raised an initial $1.5 million Series A round of funding from RRE and Foundry, with RRE's Stuart Ellman and Foundry's Seth Levine co-leading the deal.

SideTour met initial success -- and tons of press coverage -- in New York thanks to its quirky experience-based activities ranging from racing down the US luge track with an Olympic medalist, pasta-making classes with an Italian chef, or dining with a former investment banker who's now a monk. The company's community of "hosts" post these experiences, which Sidetour carefully vets and curates. Hosts set their prices and give the company a 20 percent cut of sales.

SideTour has expanded over the last year to Chicago, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. The company plays in a crowded "unique experiences" market, with companies like Zozi, Underground Eats, and Excursionist (all of which recently partnered with GroupMe Experiences).

After Airbnb, Yelp and Kenneth Cole made SideTour a regular part of their corporate hosting repertoire, the company last year launched a corporate events product called SideTour for Companies.