Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Travel Discovery : Joobili raises money and targets Discovery & Inspriation

alarm:clock are reporting that Budapest based online travel start-up Joobili has raised some funds from Esther Dyson and Hamu & Gyemant (not sure who they are as in Hungarian). Caught my attention for two reasons. Firstly I am always drawn to online travel start-ups with cash, particularly during the Global F'n Crisis. Second because of the timing of this announcement. Joobili (pronounced "jubilee") are in the Travel discovery & inspiration category. Just last week I wrote a detailed post on this category as part of a profile of Triporati. Just yesterday I interviewed Triporati chairman Jim Hornthal (a post of which will be up soon).

Where Triporati came at the discovery & inspiration process through a "vacation genome project", Joobili are targeting "timely travel". One (Triporati) uses the desires of the consumer, matched to the expertise of the content and technology of the engine to recommend destinations. The other (Joobili) uses the dates of planned travel to help identify events that a consumer might want to attend, which then dictates the destination for travel.

In the slider interface on Joobili the consumer selects the date range, hits "inspire me" and then is presented with events and activities which can be refined further. For example I selected 1 July - 21 July 2009 and the first recommendation was the "Benicassim International Fesitval" in Spain. Number two the "Moldejazz festival" in Norway. I like the idea and have seen no one else doing this but think it will only work if the refinement tools are incredible - which means better than they are now. Not sure if it can work with the refinement after the "inspire me" button, not before (site is still in beta). As an Australian based user (and despite my surname) I am unlikely to ever rush off and visit the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in deepest darkest Wales (third choice in my search results). Below is a 2 min video on how the site works.

Don't know much about the founders including CEO Jared Salter and Tamas Gabor. But Jared also runs the company blog and is kind enough to already have the BOOT in his blogroll. Jared - if your out there, tells us more about the company.

PS last minute Google search before pressing publish found that Travolution has also picked up the story.

update Aug 2009 - Travolution have a post "Joobili's design evolution in four screenshots" if you want to see the site design change from private beta to now


Anonymous said...

I'm here! Thanks for the post. As you saw, I'm a fan of the blog.

You did a great job summarizing the site. We absolutely want to be in the inspiration space and leave the research to all the other great travel sites that already exist. We found it annoying that the first thing you have to do on most travel sites is enter your destination. Many times I don't know where I want to go, I just know when I have a holiday weekend and I want to experience something cool. Travel is also about the story, right. Going to Venice isn't a great story anymore because all your friends have been there and you all saw the same museums and monuments. But going to Venice for Carnival is an experience worth talking about. You get the point.

I think you're right about the refinement tools. We just launched into Beta and have a few improvements in mind. The original landing page design actually included filters, but we decided we really wanted to clarify how Joobili is different so we emphasized the time element. I'm interested to hear what others think about this.

We've had a busy month since our launch. Last week we won the Seedcamp Warsaw competition organized by Europe's top investors and entrepreneurs. It was a big step for what is still a very small company.

We could really use your feedback and help spreading the word to your fellow european travelers. Thanks.

PS: apologies for the demo video...if anything it will give you a good laugh. I've been meaning to remove it from youtube and replace it with a normal demo, but it looks like I'm too late:)

Tim Hughes said...

@jared/blog - great to have your comments. Thanks. Congrats on the seedcamp win. Look forward to more on the product releases. Please keep me informed. Maybe we can line up an interview after your next product launch.