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On the heals of Hipmunk exciting the travel industry comes more news for the airborne community. GateGuru, an app specifically focused on quality airport experiences, has raised a modest $800k in angel funding and is simultaneously launching their Android app today.
Rejoice, Droid users, you will never be stuck wondering what is beyond the mysterious security line (until you go through it).
GateGuru, which launched in 2009, is one of those apps that collects a little dust until bam! You are traveling and need to know where the nearest Chili’s is. The free app will tell you and, thankfully, does more than enable your poor eating habits.
Consider it a Rick Steves for terminals. In action, the app prompts you to choose your airport via location-based detection. You are then directed to the airport’s page where you can find reviews, tips, checkpoints or further refine your search by selecting a terminal and gate-range (ie: Terminal 1, Gates 20-36). Food options, shopping and services can be found on the individual terminal pages with user generated reviews and tips available per amenity as well.
The laundry list goes on to include itinerary management through partnerships with TripIt and Kayak, wait times, photos and more. If only it could tell you how many seats without a screaming baby or yappy dog are left at your gate.
Chief executive Dan Gellert created GateGuru after years of working as a venture capitalist. His job required frequent travel, and after one too many poor post-security food finds, he decided to relieve the travel headache. Apple also saw the value and included the app in a commercial for the iPhone (see below).
Now, Gellert has turned to angel investors help GateGuru soar (get it?). He targeted angel investors in particular because, “They understand the travel industry and what I am going through. I value their insight.” To that end, Gellert used AngelList, an online community that aims to bring startups and potential investors together. Secured investors in this $800k round include Brad Harrison of BHVentures, Allen Morgan, Chamath Palihapitiya via Embarcadero Ventures, Tom Glocer, VEO of Thomas Reuters, Thomas Lehrman and Matt Daimlet, Founder of SeatGuru.com.
GateGuru’s plans for the funds make it an app to watch. Their goal is three-part: to bring transactions to the app, integrate deeply with airports and (less excitingly) hire staff.
Ever been stuck in security with half an hour until your flight, jonesing for your AM coffee? GateGuru hopes to enable pre-ordering for food pick-up, so you can run to your gate and grab your joe, no hassles. Also in the works are larger purchases like car rentals and cabs.
What may really put GateGuru over the top is the plan to integrate with airports. Currently, wait times are updated through voluntary user submissions and are thus unreliable. “We need to put more work into this,” admitted Gellert. According to the CEO, airports have wait-times on hand at any given moment, in particular security lines. With deeper airport integration and partnering, GateGuru will be able to use that data to bring consumers wait-times and flight delays in real-time.
The app is an exciting departure from the stress usually associated with travel. There are a lot of working components here that if smoothly integrated, could make GateGuru an app store must have. If you’re traveling for the holiday weekend, download the app and test it out. Even if the timing aspect is not fully developed, you will definitely appreciate the duty free knowledge provided for amenities.
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