Qype reviews a European expansion.

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QYPE, a fast-growing online local search and recommendation service, based in Hamburg, Germany, which combines user generated reviews with a social network, recently announced it has secured a multi million Euros Series ‘A’ investment round mainly from Advent Venture Partners and Partech International, in order to rapidly rollout its service across Europe. i.e UK & France.

I am sure the team at TrustedPlaces, the UK equivalent review and recommendation service, are already aware of this potential new competitor.

Qype microformats

Founded in April 2006 by Stephan Uhrenbacher, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, who established travelchannel.de, said: “We now have the resources to accelerate the building of our community and to make QYPE the best online destination for current and reliable local advice across Europe”.

Frédéric Court, Partner at Advent Ventures, said: “QYPE replicates online what we do in everyday life when we need a trusted recommendation or opinion on local services such as a restaurant, a hotel or a plumber – we ask a friend”.

Philippe Collombel, General Partner at Partech, said: “QYPE creates the ultimate source of local information by enabling its users to share their experiences. From its German base, where it already covers over 1,000 German cities, we believe that QYPE will be able to rapidly expand across Europe”.

Interestingly QYPE are not the only review and recommendation service to raise funding. Yelp, the US website has just taken a further $10 million in Series B funding from Benchmark Capital. The company had already received as much as $6 million in a previous round from Bessemer Venture Partners. What is interesting reading the TechCrunch.com (USA) comments on Yelp is the tone of the negativitiy towards Yelp needing to raise further capital.

“Well, you gotta see this and read this to understand where all the $$$$$$$$ go.”

In sharp contract Stephan’s blog boasts about how tight his company is with money and the website Alarm:Clock notices that there is a new frugality to be found amongst European entrepreneurs. [note: They also have an English translation of Stephan’s German blog]

“We’re noticing that European startup founders like to show off their frugality. The leaner the startup machine, the bigger the bragging rights.”

I can concur with this view which maybe a result of the economic environment here in Europe. i.e the lack of tech-savvy angel funders and the high qualifying thresholds set (£1m+) by the mainstream VC’s has forced start-up entrepreneurs to get their operations up and running on a shoestring. i.e Linux hosted free open source software plus sweat equity.

So I think QYPE with its new funding, use of social networking, tags, microformats (hreview) and a recomendation search engine certainly has a very good chance of entering the UK market successfully and becoming a segment leader. Maybe in a years time we might see a merger of TrustedPlaces and QYPE?

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