Peek.com has raised $10 million in equity funding to become what it calls an “OpenTable for the $100 billion activities market,” according to CEO and co-founder Ruzwana Bashir.
Based in San Francisco, with additional offices in Salt Lake City, Utah, Peek .com lets travelers, and locals, find and book activities such as tours, tastings and lessons, online or via mobile.
The Peek.com site features verified customer reviews, and shows activities’ availability, including for same day bookings.
The startup, which employs about 80 full-time today, also provides online tools, Peek Pro, to help tour operators manage their business online and via mobile.
Because their businesses often requires them to be out in the field– walking, kayaking, boating, flying in a helicopter, at factories or riding on Segways—Peek Pro is designed for mobile first, Bashir said.
One popular feature tour operators like in Peek Pro is its digital waiver forms, she said:
“Handing out clipboards and papers and pencils to your customers when you’re standing by the water about to go on an alligator tour isn’t particularly convenient.”
To generate revenue, Peek.com takes transactional fees from tour operators for customers they book through Peek.com or on their own sites using Peek Pro.
While Peek.com is regarded as “travel tech,” and a competitor to activity booking sites like Viator.com (now owned by TripAdvisor), Zozi.com or IfOnly.com, Bashir sees her business as equal parts travel and “vertical SaaS” she said.
Investors in Peek.com’s Series A round were all high net worth individuals, not institutional venture funds or corporations.
They included: Trulia founder Pete Flint, now a Peek.com board member; TPG founder David Bonderman; former Oracle President and long-time venture capitalist Ray Lane; Hyatt Hotels’ Gigi Pritzker and Michael Pucker, and earlier backers Eric Schmidt, Jack Dorsey, and Carl Sparks, the former CEO of Travelocity.
Sparks lauded Peek.com for its curated marketplace of tours, and high-quality content and reviews about them.
He also said, “Consumers expect immediate gratification across every product category from accommodation to ground transportation to travel activities….[Previously,] this was impossible for activities, as most inventory existed only on paper calendars. Buyers can now wake up in the morning and with a few taps on the phone book a fun adventure for that afternoon.”
Peek board member and Trulia founder Pete Flint said, the growing brand was already in a good position in the market, and had solid unit economics. He thinks hiring will be tantamount to support the next phase of growth for Peek.
Both investors said they expect Peek to use the capital to continue working to bring the best tour operators onto its platform. Sparks said partnerships within the industry, like the new one with Yelp, will allow Peek to bring great travel experiences to mainstream consumers and help it grow more quickly.
Besides its partnership with Yelp, Peek has also powered activities listings for Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin America.
Updates: This post was updated with comments from Peek.com board member and investor Pete Flint.