The female-founded startup impressed investors with its plan to move travel planning online.
By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)
As Uber and Airbnb have proved, there’s lots of money to be made in moving fragmented offline industries like taxis and apartment subletting online. Is travel the next industry to be disrupted in this way?
The industry has already been in turmoil for years as more tickets and experiences are purchased online, but high-profile investors are betting that there’s much change yet to come -- and that female-founded Peek.com is one of the companies to drive that innovation The startup, co-founded by Ruzwana Bashir, just bagged another $5 million in funding from Brad Gerstner of Altimeter Capital and StubHub co-founder Jeff Fluhramong among others. This is in additional to earlier investment from tech luminaries like Google's Eric Schmidt and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, many of whom also reinvested in the latest round.
The New York Times writeup of the news explains what has these investors so excited:
Behind their investments is their belief that a company can both make it easier for travelers to find attractions like wine tours quickly and easily and for merchants, especially those without websites, to reach potential customers much more quickly.
In essence, Peek.com is playing both travel agent and tour guide.
According to Peek.com’s chief executive, Ruzwana Bashir, the model is Opentable, which has focused as much on providing restaurants with back-end systems as it has with helping diners book reservations.
The company already serves 17 American cities plus London and Paris and plans to add ten more with this new injection of cash. The company was also recently named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Travel by Fast Company. Congrats to the Peek.com team!
Have you tried Peek.com? What did you think?
Jessica Stillman (@entrylevelrebel) is an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com, contributes regularly to Forbes and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM and Brazen Careerist, among others.