Spot launches to help users share recommendations on local gems and travel tips

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Spot, a startup that says it can help you find “the best places in the world,” is launching to the public.

The company emerged from “startup studio” Expa. It’s also announcing today that it has raised $2 million in seed funding from Expa, SV Angel, Ram Shriram, Tim Ferriss, Fenwick & West and others.

When I spoke to general manager Luke Groesbeck last summer, he said the app would provide recommendations for the best spots in your hometown or whichever city you’re visiting. And it’s not just relying on reviews shared within the app itself. It’s also pulling data about how locations get discussed elsewhere on the web — as Groesbeck put it, “We’re trying to do for the real world what Google has done for the web.”

When you open the app now, you can see recommendations nearby for food, coffee and drinks. Open a specific profile and you’ll see basic info like hours and location, as well as “expert reviews” from sources like Zagat and Thrillist. You can also save locations and add them to lists. And there’s a strong social component, where you can follow other users and see which friends have saved a given location.

Those lists may be more important than you think — Groesbeck said that during beta testing, the team discovered that it’s “a core part of the experience.”

“Some of our most engaged users are making lists that are more narrative than transactional; they’re more stories than just a grouping of spots,” he said. (You can see some featured lists on the Spot website.)

While Spot is only available on iOS for now, it’s also taking sign-ups for Android.