Local Q&A startup Hipster has raised $1 million in seed funding from some prominent angel Valley investors including Mitch Kapor, Dave McClure/500 Startups, Lightbank, Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Max Ventilla, TechStars David Cohen and David Tisch, Google’s Don Dodge, Paige Craig, Ludlow Ventures, Lerer Ventures and others.
Many of you best know Hipster as the startup that launched a thousand blog posts, having insane hype and a couple of acquisition offers before its SXSW launch. While Hipster’s initial launch page had over 10,000 signups in its first few days of existence, the startup’s actual user numbers for SXSW were at just over 4,000 for the entire three day period. Were you using Hipster during SXSW? I wasn’t either.
“We learned a lot during SXSW, it was ‘baptism by fire,’” Hipster CEO Doug Ludlow tells me. “One of my big takeaways from the event was that people tend to have a lot more answers than questions.”
Ludlow also has since then re-evaluated the company’s product strategy: Instead of launching city by city, Hipster will now be launching everywhere in the US at once, on both web and mobile. While he doesn’t reveal many product details, he emphasizes that the lessons of SXSW were hard won and won’t be forgotten.
Hipster is a small player in an arena dominated by Foursquare and Yelp, but Ludlow is undaunted, believing that each of them represents only 1/2 of the “local knowledge” problem:
“Foursquare is trying to become the go-to application to share knowledge when you’re out and about (with Check-ins and tips), yet provides a very poor web experience for accessing, augmenting, editing, or sharing this information.”
“Yelp is great for browsing local content on the web, but doesn’t provide a good method for submitting knowledge this knowledge when its freshest in your mind (namely, while you’re currently at a location.)”
In order to further carve out a small but strong position in the local space for Hipster, Ludlow plans on using the new financing to double the team (going from three to six) and to move the entire operation from Los Angeles to San Francisco.