TLabs Showcase - TrazzlerNewsBy Kevin May | June 11, 2010Share This article was originally published on TLabs Showcase focus on startups featuring US-based and Twitter founders-backed Trazzler.Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?We got started when John Vlahides, Biz Stone, Adam Weller, and Adam Rugel created 71Miles. Then we won an fbFund grant to develop Trazzler as a Facebook application.Today, co-founder Stone and Cheryl Rosner provide a steady stream of vision and support as board members, Megan Cytron heads our editorial world, and we recently closed a seed round of funding.What financial support did you have to launch the business?We started the company in the original Twitter offices (I used to work at Odeo with that team).We're bootstrapped (not rich-guy bootstrapping, we really were eating noodles with no real money.) A grant from the fbFund kept us alive.We recently raised a seed round with Ron Conway and SV Angel for leading the charge and pulling together an all-star roster of investors.They include: AOL co-founder Steve CaseFounder CollectiveAOL VenturesEvan WilliamsJack Dorsey...and moreWhat problem are you trying to solve?Weekend Travel. While you will certainly find exotic getaways and the stuff of travel fantasies while exploring Trazzler, most of Trazzler's recommendations are within reasonable driving distance, fostering investment in your local economy and encouraging more frequent, shorter trips.Also, we enjoy travelling but don’t enjoy travel discovery online. Maybe it’s awareness that many travel sites are the creations of opportunists and arbitrage experts, initiated by the kind of thinking that goes into creating a hedge fund or a scam. We’re coming at it from a different place.Describe the business, core products and services?Exploring the world on Trazzler is like window shopping. Skip the trips that don't appeal to you, but save the ones you like.As you do, your one-of-a-kind taste for travel will inform smarter recommendations tailored to your Travel Personality.We focus on meaningful travel experiences that tend to slip through the cracks elsewhere. Our editors read every trip submitted to Trazzler and commission writers to share the kind of defining travel moments.Who are your key customers and users at launch?Advertising pilot partner: Miraval - some details of how we've worked with them.CVBs: We’ve partnered with close to a dozen.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?Yes.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?Partners give Trazzler exclusive deals which are fed to the community through the site and Twitter feeds. There is also on-site advertising.SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?Our approach to travel writing is unique in both content and form (form being both the 100-word write-ups and the user interface for browsing).In fact, our tag ontology, which is fed into the recommendations algorithm, wouldn’t work if the content were in a different form.But the verdict is still out on if this is a strength/opportunity or a flop.We have 1.5 million followers over 43 twitter accounts (twitter.com/trazzler and twitter.com/traveldeals being the biggest two), so this is another strength.We have some exciting things planned on Twitter.Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?I pitched variations on local travel to them probably 500 times in previous iterations (such as 71miles.com). You just have to keep moving forward until you can’t anymore.What is your success metric 12 months from now?Revenue.TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.