Stride raises $2.5M from JetBlue, NFX for its guided trips marketplace

Group travel — it’s something you either love or hate, but Stride, which describes itself as a marketplace for “experiential multi-day and multi-destination packaged trips planned by experts,” wants to change this perception. The service, which was co-founded by former Starwood Hotels and Viator executive Gavin Delany, today announced that it has raised a $2.5 million seed round from JetBlue Ventures and NFX. In addition, it rolled out its new TripFinder feature, which makes it easier to find the right tour from the more than 30,000 travel itineraries from its partners in its database.

The service first launched in 2016. Delany decided to focus on trips because of his own frustration with finding the right operator to hike the Inca Trail in Peru. “At the time, there was no platform that allowed you to search and compare different itineraries and operators,” he told me. And that’s exactly what Stride wants to do: help you find the right operator, no matter whether you are looking for a relaxed multi-day, multi-generational jaunt through Europe or a personalized extreme sports adventure.

Unsurprisingly, most of Stride’s users are exactly the kind of travelers you’d expect to be interested in a guided tour. They tend to be older, more affluent and obviously interested in seeing the world. “They have the time, they have the money and they have the inclination to see the world. They want their adventure, but they want their comfort, too,” said Delany. Still, the company is also seeing a growing interest from younger clients who want to use the service to book small group or private tours, as well as pre-planned self-guided itineraries.

That’s where TripFinder comes in, which makes it far easier to find the right tour by guiding you through a few questions about who you are, where … Read the rest

Indie travel app Lambus makes group trip planning easier

There are plenty of travel apps for researching flights and hotels or generally organizing your trips, but indie German developer Hans Knöechel struggled to find one that could gather all his travel-related information in one place, in addition to allowing a group of friends to collaborate on the trip-planning process. So he built one for himself: Lambus, an app that lets you organize your travel documents, manage expenses, plus collaborate and chat with fellow co-travelers about the trip being planned.

Previously a senior software engineer at Appcelerator in San Jose, Knöechel came up with the idea for Lambus after being on the road a lot himself, and finding existing travel apps lacking.

“When traveling, you either use a manual folder with dozens of pages for all your information — or countless apps to display travel expenses, booking confirmations and waypoint planning. Alternatives like Google Trips, Sygic and Roadtrippers were always limited to one person and never offered all the features I needed during the trip,” he explains. “This gave me the idea for Lambus: A collaborative platform on which travel groups — in real-time — can display all the properties of the trip in an easy-to-use platform: Waypoints, travel expenses, booking documents, notes, photos and chat,” he says.

The resulting app he refers to as a “Swiss Army Knife” for travel planning.

Like TripIt and others, travel documents can be shared with Lambus by forwarding emails to a unique personal email address. The imported documents — like plane tickets or Airbnb stays — will then be made available to all group attendees automatically. This is handy for group trips where often multiple people take turns making the various reservations, but don’t have any easy way to share the information with others beyond forwarding emails or writing down information … Read the rest