Let this post be a lesson to would-be entrepreneurs: Don’t turn down any party invitations. This advice is obvious if we’re talking about fancy dinners as the homes of moguls. But apparently the Valley is so rich with venture capital, it even applies to backyard BBQs at the homes of bloggers.
My husband and I have an annual August BBQ, and two years ago we found a term sheet sketched on a paper tablecloth. We never found out who that belonged to. But I just found out another deal happened at this past year’s party when LA entrepreneur JR Johnson met Tony Conrad of True Ventures.
Johnson’s company, Trippy, will announce the funding today. The $1.75 million round was co-led by Sequoia Capital and included SV Angel and individual investors Rob Solomon, Tim Ferriss, Brian Lee, Gil Ebaz, Brandee Barker, Chase Jarvis, Randi Zuckerberg, Jason Mraz, and Rachel Zoe.
Trippy is a social travel site that gives people a painless way to help plan friends’ trips. Trippy debuted at Disrupt in San Francisco and is Johnson’s second company in the travel space. His first, VirtualTourist, was a pioneer in the social travel space. It was acquired by Expedia in 2008.
Johnson started working on Trippy the moment his non-compete elapsed, and his expertise in the space shows. For instance, unlike competitors it only allows people in your social graph to make recommendations, which cuts down on the rampant spam problem of sites like TripAdvisor.
Trippy’s UI is also one of the best I’ve seen at taking away all of the hurdles to sitting down and emailing a friend a list of suggested hotels, bars and restaurants. It cleverly leverages Facebook’s APIs to make it drop-dead easy to make recommendations– or even just echo ones made by other friends.