Start-up Tripl Helps You Find Locals To Harass/Befriend

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So you’ve just landed in Pittsburgh and you don’t know anyone. If you’re like me, you hit the local Eat’n’Park and stare at people from your booth, crying while eating fries. With Tripl, however, I can meet some of the movers and shakers in the locality, network like a champ, and generally leave the hellscape that is my dark, lonely soul. Win-win.

The service has just come out of beta and is available to try here. To use it, you login using Facebook and recommend folks who you think are important in the places you’ve visited. They can be anyone, from VCs to raver kids. Then when you plan a trip you can see who is who in town and connect with them.

On the surface, the service makes sense: its nice to know a local. In practice? Ehhhh… maybe it’s the grump in me but I want to show someone around the neighborhood like I want a hole in the head. If you’re an extrovert, however, this is right up your alley.

There is also a network effect at work here. Tripl needs a wider user base to be actually useful in that it matches folks with each other based on a few basic characteristics. As it stands, it’s kind of a Silicon Alley/Valley sort of situation where the early adopters have shown up. I’d love to meet a museum curator in Barcelona, for example, to discuss Woody Allen over cava and octopus or perhaps a beautiful female Jai Alai player who is really a spy in Haifa who will embroil me in an international plot of intrigue and mystery. Instead it shows me Ouriel Ohayon.

It’s a fascinating concept, Tripl is, and the UI is quite smooth and attractive. Is it for me? I can respond with a resounding “maybe.” I suspect my travels will bring me to places covered by Tripl but I also have a feeling that many trips to out of the way places – where you definitely need a local to convince you not to drink yourself, Apocolypse Now-style, into a blubbering mess at the hotel bar and then go back to your room for some alone time – won’t be covered here. I could be wrong.

David Los and Peter Sullivan founded the company in Stockholm. Peter went to Sweden as a student and essentially stayed, finding the bracing air and short, riotus summers to his liking. However, like many of us, he wanted to meet other people in other cities and thus Tripl was born. It’s funded by a $300,000 angel round and run by a very small team along with some European programmers.

Give it a try and see how you like it. I’m apparently a local in New York and if you travel here I’ll be happy to suggest some places you can go, many of them that won’t be actual swear words. Technology has a tendency to pull us apart. I guess Tripl is trying, in its own convoluted way, to bring us together.

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