Remember travel agents? Remember how the Internet gave everyone the power to plan their own trips, and then there weren’t any more travel agents? Mygola is a hoping the hassle of researching and booking a vacation online brings the trend full-circle.
The company just received $1 million in funding for its service that uses a combination of technology and real people to plan trips for clients. The round of funding was led by Blumberg Capital, 500 Startups and a few other angel investors.
Mygola uses trained freelance travel guides (yes, actual humans) to research and plan trips all over the world. The company’s main goal is to combine technology and real humans to deliver helpful and personalized travel information. “We are trying to do two things simultaneously; at one end we are trying to aggregate tremendous amounts of data automatically from around the web and on the other side we trying to build this recruiting and training platform, where anyone in the world can sign up to become a guide.” Mygola founder Anshuman Bapna said in an interview.
Just fill out a form on the Mygola website saying where you are going, when you’ll be there, what you need help with (hotels, places to see, restaurants) and what you are interested in doing. Within 24-hours, a team of guides will then return well-researched, unbiased information for your trip. Mygola can even book flights, hotels, and restaurant reservations for you. Beyond standard travel information, Mygola can research specific details such as where to rent a car, how to use your cell phone in a foreign country, or how to handle your kid’s needs at a destination.
The company has an odd pay-as-you-wish structure. The first question is free, but to ask another you’ll have to pay, though the amount is up to you. Frequent travelers can sign up for a plan instead; they start at $30 for a trip, or $99 for a full year of all-you-can-ask questions.
This round of funding will be used to recruit and train more guides from all over the world, so Mygola can serve more travelers. In addition, Mygola plans to continue with product development and create mobile apps for its service.
“Our main focus has been for the past year to building the backend operation to a point where we could recruit and train guides very quickly and at high quality” Bapna said in an interview, “We are recruiting about 80 guides per week and we want to make that footprint much more global.”
Mygola was founded by Anshuman Bapna in 2009 and the company currently has 14 employees. Mygola has been funded by Blumberg Capital, 500 Startups, Lewis Cheng, Mac Harman, Sandeep Bapna, Priyavrat Bhartia, Aldo Monteforte and Alvaro Gutierrez.
Airplane-on-a-mouse image via Shutterstock