Lanyrd Secures $1.4 million In Seed Funding To Make Conferences More Social

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Lanyrd, which bills itself as a social conference directory, has raised a seed funding round of $1.4 million from Index Ventures Seed and PROfounders Capital in London, as well as a number of high profile angels including Joi Ito, Esther Dyson, Blaine Cook (ex Twitter CTO), Matt Haughey (MetaFilter) and Matt Biddulph (ex-Dopplr).

The startup is a product of Y Combinator’s Winter 2011 batch, created by Simon Willison and Natalie Downe who came up with the idea on honeymoon in Egypt. (Funny story… yhey were in Casablanca, Morocco, fell ill and because it was Ramadan they couldn’t find food anywhere. So what else does a geek couple do than rent an apartment for two weeks and build the first version of a startup, of course.

The cash will be used to expand the London-based team and ramp up users. Willison told me: “We chose to come back to London to start the company. Part of the reason is that we think we have a much better chance of hiring an amazing team here as we don’t have to compete with Google, Facebook, Twitter and thousands of startups for top talent.” The pair decided on London, although YC, Start Fund, Index’s international network and their US angels provide a solid foothold in the US.

Lanyrd could best be described as a place where you can find out about anyone who goes to or speaks at conferences. Instead of having to hunt down people bios and profiles across the social web, Lanyrd does it al for you. More importantly it aggregates links to slides, notes and videos from sessions once the event is complete.

The site works like a wiki, leveraging the community it serves by encouraging users to enter event details and edit data. Lanyrd now holds over 12,000 events, ranging from large conferences like SXSW to smaller, home-grown events. The site is closely integrated with Twitter, and recommends events that your Twitter contacts are
attending.

Board advisors will be Tom Coates (ex Yahoo! Brickhouse), Andy Baio (ex Upcoming) and Matt Haughey (MetaFilter).

Some examples of speaker profiles:

Eric Ries
Robert Scoble -
Your’s truly

Some example event listings:

dConstruct 2011
TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2011
TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2011 (includes coverage of the event)

The site also useful lists topics like Ruby on Rails or Social media.