Planning a Trip? Meet People Before You Leave with Tripl

April 2, 2012

1:00 pm

It’s a new take on an old concept – I mean, older than the first leisure travel apps you saw. Old as in the days when a relative or friend would make a personal connection for you when traveling to another city – old.

The service is called Tripl, and it puts social-centric technology to work, intersecting your social graph with the places you travel.

Tripl assumes that if you want to connect socially, you’re going to have a Facebook account. (The team is currently trying other options – there are links to sign in with your LinkedIn, Twitter, or Foursquare accounts – but they are for testing purposes; you can’t use anything but Facebook yet.) What you’ll get is a popup with the following tongue-in-cheek message:

Not a fan of Zuckerberg?

Don’t worry we are working on adding new sign-in options. Your click is helping us decide which one to add next!
For now, we suggest you use your Facebook account so that we skip re-inventing the wheel and rely on your friends’ list and Facebook messaging.

At this point in time, you log in via Facebook and discover connections with your Facebook friends that use location services, and with others on Tripl via tags you assign to your profile (e.g., dive bars, museums, tacos). Your profile works two ways – plan a trip and discover locals, or turn the tables and offer advice as a guide in your own town. Ratings are built into the system to see if the user has been recommended or if you have mutual friends.

It’s all available in a simple and highly attractive dashboard of activity where you can add an upcoming trip, add a place you are considering visiting, or add more friends if your activity level is low. You can also personalize your profile with your other social networking sites – yet another way to “get to know” the people you may be contacting, or those who have requested to meet up with you.

Adding recommendations is essential for growing your network, and activity numbers on the site earns points. Tripl came out of beta at the end of 2011, and the site is sprinkled with mentions of up-and-coming features. Earning points on the site right now just makes you “awesome”; down the road, discounts and loyalty program points are planned to foster engagement.

Tripl evolved from a previous travel-based social site called Vacation Relation. With a revised strategy, new name, and two successful rounds of funding under its belt, the team recently (March 2012) moved the company’s headquarters from Stockholm, Sweden, to New York. Now part of NYC’s burgeoning tech scene, Tripl recently reported a $300,000 investment by NYC-based VCs.

These guys have a sense of humor. It’s evident on Tripl’s site from that first homepage popup about Zuckerberg to the FAQ section that asks, “I don’t have a Facebook Account, can I still use this?” and the answer, “Really? You don’t have a Facebook account?”

The team is growing – you can get a real feel for the attitude here via Tripl’s About Us intro:

A little about the company:

  1. Tripl is a social travel site focused on connecting people
  2. We have just raised our second round of investment, from NYC based VC’s
  3. We are bringing over half our team to NYC in the next few months, if you didn’t know, NYC is the sh*t
  4. We are a company about big data and beautiful design
  5. We are working in a red-hot sector that needs disruption
  6. We offer all employee[s] equity options, we believe you should be owners, not just employees
  7. All new employees get a new mac setup
  8. We are fast paced, and crank our product quickly, iterate even faster
  9. We love lean startup methodology and agile development
  10. We look outside the box and want people who do the same
  11. We [have] an active user base that is growing
  12. We are looking to grow the team to 7-8 people within next 2 months

Tripl has a 90-second video that explains how the service works, and it uses video throughout the site to demonstrate the product and the personality of the founders. Check out the fake Founder Story interview with co-founder Peter Sullivan or this spoof on the Brady Bunch intro. Good stuff.

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Marla Shaivitz is a writer, developer and digital marketer. She's interested in innovations & innovators in technology and those working toward social good. Follow Marla on Twitter at @marlashaivitz.

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