Weotta is releasing a big update to its iOS app today, one that should make the app even more useful for planning cool things to do — particularly with friends.
The company, which first launched at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in 2011, is also announcing that it has raised an undisclosed amount of new funding, which came entirely from new investors. The round was led by Google Ventures, with participation from Dave Morin’s Slow Ventures and Gil Elbaz and David Waxman’s TenOneTen Capital.
CEO and co-founder Grant Wernick demonstrated the new app for me earlier this week, and in some ways the core idea hasn’t changed too much from recent versions. Weotta still presents users with a stack of potential locations and activities — if it sounds interesting, swipe down to save it, if it doesn’t, swipe across to toss it out. As you swipe, Weotta gets an implicit understanding of what you’re interested in and can tailor its recommendations accordingly.
The app pulls its activities from around the web, and it summarizes the information that it finds, for example synthesizing information from reviews to conclude that a restaurant is both “dressy” and “noisy.” You can filter the recommendations based on the time and type of activity (i.e. whether you’re going on a date or taking your kids on a family outing). And when you’re ready to finalize your plans, the app allows you to actually make reservations or buy tickets through Eventbrite, Facebook, Fandango, OpenTable, StubHub and TicketFly.
As for today’s changes, the biggest ones are social — in Wernick’s words, “We’re amplifying the friend-guided lifestyle.” As you go through the stack, you can see, for example, if two other friends (Weotta encourages users to log in through Facebook) have told Weotta that they’re also interested in an activity. In other words, it’s trying to replace those slightly awkward emails or social network updates where people say, “Hey guys, I’m going to this concert! Does anyone want to come with me?” With Weotta, I can see what events my friends are interested in and it will notify them if I’m interested, too.
There’s also a nice system for friend recommendations. Weotta has had reviews in the past, and you can still write those reviews, but now it also asks you a straightforward, easy-to-answer question: Would you go back? Each user’s interests and “places you’d go back to” are accessible on their profile page, so if you’re looking for (say) a great dive bar and you have a friend who is a dive bar connoisseur, you can just visit their profile and find recommendations.
The update also continues Weotta’s evolution away from recommendations for things you want to do at the moment and towards planning for the future — the default view of the app now covers activities for the next 14 days.
You can download the new Weotta app here.