Back in September, Jon Tirsen and Douwe Osinga, two ex-Googlers, unveiled their new mobile travel guide, Triposo, setting out to do for travel content what Google and PageRank did for search. The startup developed a set of algorithms to crawl and parse the Web’s biggest travel information databases (like Wikitravel and Open Street Maps), before ranking the data to determine which pieces have the most relevance to its users and serving them up as rich travel guides.
Of course, this is no easy task, and Triposo has been in an ongoing process of honing these content algorithms, launching 30 destination travel guides for iOS and Android to help test the waters and encourage user feedback. Today, Triposo is ready to take its next big step forward, officially unveiling its new and improved iOS app, which aims to make the old hands of travel content, like Lonely Planet, shake in their boots.
The main attraction of its new app, says COO Richard Osinga, is that Triposo is now a “self-starter” — in other words, a travel guide that actively offers suggestions as to where users should go next. Traditionally, he says, travel guides require users to do all the work in terms of search and discovery, but, as you make your way around, the startup’s new app takes into account your location, the time of day, the weather and the hours of local businesses in your vicinity to present you with the best destinations and travel options. In Rome and need to find the best coffee place nearby? Triposo has your back.
But what is perhaps the coolest feature of the new Triposo app is that they now register the direction one is looking in, so that as a user roams the streets of a new city, the app highlights the top destinations in front of them. Osinga says that, while this may sound like a complicated augmented reality app, the user experience is in fact simple and straightforward.
That’s the key to Triposo: It’s free, it works offline so you won’t incur roaming fees, offers travel guides for dozens of countries, more than 8,000 points of interest, and 250K places, has a travel dashboard, weather updates, currency converter, and foreign language phrasebooks. Plus, it allows you to point your phone in a certain direction and identify points of interest nearby, all while managing to avoid an overwhelming and cluttered user experience.
In the eight months since launch, Triposo has seen over 1 million iOS downloads and over 700K Android downloads. Its algorithmic approach to travel recommendations makes it somewhat different from the many friendsourced social travel apps out there, but the more data it crawls, and the more its users engage, the smarter the apps’ recommendations become.
The startup’s early traction has continued to make it appealing to investors, as Triposo recently added a second, small-ish tranche of seed funding from new investor CrunchFund, as well as contributions from its existing investors, which include Chris Sacca, Taher Haveliwala, Google Wave Co-founder and Google Maps Lead Engineer Lars Rasmussen, and InterWest Partners. The new infusion of capital brings the startup’s total funding to just over $700K.
For more, check out Triposo at home here. Video intro below: