Caterina Fake is back.
The cofounder of Flickr, who sold the photo sharing site to Yahoo in 2005 for $35 million, and later her human mapping site Hunch to eBay in 2011 for $80 million, unveiled her new travel app for Apple’s iPhone Thursday.
It’s called Findery, which is also the name of her San Francisco-based startup.
“Findery is powerful. It’s where members can find each other in the world. And it’s about different ways of looking at the world of mobile,” Fake said, in a voice that speeds by you very, very quickly.
Findery — you can demo the app here — aims to connect travelers by giving them a mobile platform to post and find virtual notes of historical or personal interest. People choose whether they want their notes to be private or public. They can also create “Notemaps,” which are a way for people to curate information around themes, topics, or locations.
Findery displays a map when activated, and the notes are highlighted and correspond to the places of interest imputed by the traveler. Or user.
Findery isn’t the original name of Fake’s website — it was originally called Pinwheel. The official Findery website launched last October.
The impetus for building and releasing Findery came about when Fake began thinking about the history near her home in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley-Lower Haight neighborhood. The area was awash with significance of American post-pop culture: the nearby house where Anne Rice wrote Interview with a Vampire; the Victorian on Haight where the Grateful Dead lived in the late ’60s; the house where Anton LaVey created the Church of Satan in 1966.
And then, on a road trip, Fake saw something that blew her away.
“I was driving through Utah and saw all these dinosaur tracks that looked like they were traveling in a herd,” Fake said, laughing.
All these sites, Fake said, needed to be mapped. And shared.
Importantly, Findery lets users post photos, videos, and sound recordings. The app is something of a virtual and global Easter Egg hunt. If you’re visiting, say, a Spanish Colonial church in the Nicaraguan city of Leon, you can post a virtual Note including sounds and pictures. A tourist in a nearby city can log on to the app and find the notes you left behind. Users leave messages of experiences for new users to discover.
Findery is based in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley and has 12 employees. Fake is the chief executive. It’s raised a total of $9.5 million in venture funding in two rounds. Redpoint Ventures is the lead investor.
Fake lamented that most travel apps are mere geolocation platforms and oftentimes little more, lacking the ability to link, share multimedia, and promote individual experiences live and on the ground.
“We wanted to shy away from that,” she said.
Fake pointed out that while she leads Findery, she does precious little coding these days.
“I was talking to my friend at Etsy, and we both laughed because we’ve become ‘those people who used to write code,'” she said.