FounderFuel Fall 2012 cohort grad Urbita, a startup based in LA and Buenos Aires, has managed to quietly amass a huge consumer following, having topped 8 million monthly unique visitors in July, and then managing a 25 percent increase over the course of August to more than 10 million monthly unique visitors. The site allows its users to create and curate “boards” for difference cities and towns, making it essentially a more travel -focused and feature-rich version of Pinterest for places.
Urbita isn’t alone in drawing that comparison; Everplaces is similar, and Urbantag is another that could be described as a place-based Pinterest. But Urbita is perhaps the most similar to the online collection website, combining a Yelp-style collection of reviews with each location found on its site. It’s more useful than Yelp for travel planning, however, since Urbita provides a category based browsing experience that’s better suited for advance planning than is Yelp’s model.
What’s perhaps most surprising about Urbita is that until August, it didn’t have any kind of built-for-mobile presence. The site launched its mobile-optimized website in August, with native app versions planned to follow soon, complete with “best of” offerings for each town and city in its roster of over 180,000 curated places around the world.
Urbita also launched a separate sub-site with a focus on video back in June called Travel Videos, which itself has around 3.5 million monthly unique views. The video site is essentially Urbita but with video content only, collecting the best from YouTube in an organized fashion arranged by geography. The curated videos are a natural complement to what Urbita builds on its main site, but make sense housed separately as they’re consumed in a different manner to restaurant and sightseeing venue reviews.
So far, Urbita has raised $650,000 in seed funding, and its traction is among the most impressive in the industry. Its continued growth depends on growing engagement from storytellers willing to dish about their own hometowns to would-be visitors, but if it can manage to continue to encourage that, Urbita stands a good chance of eventually catching the attention of travel industry giants as a ripe acquisition target, or of becoming on of those giants itself, despite its mostly under-the-radar progress to date.