Mapify, the Berlin startup that offers what it describes as a “social travel network,” has raised $1 million in seed funding from a mixture of U.S. and Europe-based funds and angel investors.
They include Switzerland’s Ennea VC (led by Jan Valentin, who served as Senior Vice President at Kayak in Europe), Roland Grenke (co-founder of Dubsmash), Navid Hadzaad Javaherian (former founder and CEO at GoButler and Product Leader at Amazon Alexa), L.A.-based LayJax Ventures (the investment vehicle of Pheed co-founder Phil Haus and actor Zach Avery), Niv Dror (previously of Product Hunt and AngelList), and Lucas von Cranach (CEO of OneFootball).
The company had previously received investment from MIT’s Sandbox Innovation Fund, Gunnar Froh (who launched Airbnb’s international expansion), Fredrik Posse (Partnerships Manager at Spotify), and Hagen Angermann (former Senior Manager at Daimler in Asia).
Launched in November 2017 — and a finalist in TechCrunch Battlefield — Mapify is a social travel app that lets you “visualize, find and plan” individual travel experiences. You can visually document past and current travel experiences, including photos, descriptions and other details, either related to an individual experience or entire trip. You can also connect with other travellers via a follow function and the ability to comment on places shared or by collaborating on “collections”.
In addition — in classic social media style — the Mapify app features a location-focused feed, which pushes personal recommendations based on travel interests as understood by the platform. You can search for countries, regions and cities on Mapify to discover spots to save to your private lists of planned trips.
“The global travel market and especially its planning and booking process is fragmented,” Mapify co-founder and CEO Patrick Häde tells TechCrunch. “People are using dozens of different sources for inspiration or planning and end up sharing Google docs with friends to create some kind of unified experience. We have designed an app unifying the travel space by pulling together inspiration, sharing and planning into a seamless mobile-first platform that is based on a social network of travelers around the globe. We are designing Mapify to be social because we believe the future of travel lies in unique and personal recommendations from friends and influencers”.
To that end, Mapify is currently most popular amongst millennials, especially those who travel frequently. “As some call it the ‘Instagram of Travel’, the platform has grown virally through re-sharings on Instagram and by word-of-mouth,” Häde says.
Rather confusingly, Instagram might also be seen as a competitor, as it too can be used for travel inspiration. However, the Mapify co-founder says Instagram’s data structure is not well-suited for a travel planning process (e.g. no exact locations). Another more obvious competitor is TripAdvisor, but it doesn’t offer personalised travel feeds, making it less efficient to navigate.
Meanwhile, Mapify currently generates revenue through in-depth partnerships with travel companies such as Airbnb. “By combining different travel services in one single mobile platform, we have seen increasing interest amongst the top players in the travel industry to become part of the Mapify platform,” adds Häde.