Tripping officially exits beta, uses $1M for cultural immersion

Culture junkies, get excited. Social travel site, Tripping, has raised $1M in seed funding and officially ends its days of bootstrapping to support backpacking.

The round comes from Quest Venture Partners, with an extra $450K angel investment awaiting settlement. This means that Tripping is officially out of beta and is ramping up.

“Bootstrapping has been a fun challenge, but we’re ready to take Tripping to the next level,” said Jen O’Neal, co-founder and CEO of Tripping, in a statement. Prior to Tripping, O’Neal was the Senior Marketing Manager and fifth employee of early days StubHub, a site geared toward fan-driven ticket resale.

Tripping was founded in 2010 with the goal of creating a safe spot for travel lovers to find free homestays, and open the door to culture immersion. On the site you can act as a host or a needy traveler. Travelers search for a location, say Barcelona, and a menu of Barcelona-local hosts appears. You can then review them, similar to the way you’d evaluate profiles on a dating site, and choose your favorite temporary home. Once accepted, you are on your way to a free cultural fiesta. The site competes with other home-swapping sites like Airbnb and Wimdu, which raised $90M in June.

In order to keep interactions safe, Tripping validates your passport to make sure you are actually you who say you are and actually live at the residence listed.   Also provided is the SOS Hotline, an emergency contact that currently only works via e-mail. In the works is a dedicated phone line, Skype and mobile app.

User references and ratings are also available to rank a host or lodger based on personal experience.

Currently, Tripping has members in 130 countries and will use the funding to extend its reach.

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