Triip.me, a Vietnam-based platform connecting tour guides with independent travellers, has earmarked a $500,000 seed round to grow its team, expand its footprint and attract users.
The investment comes from Gobi Partners, an early-stage investment fund with six offices across Asia.
The business, which featured as part of the Tnooz T-Labs series, was set up by husband and wife team Hai Ho and Ha Lam in 2013. It has grown rapidly over the past fourteen months, with its inventory covering 5000 experiences in 86 countries.
Its model is fairly straightforward - it allows local experts to post their own tours onto the site and takes a 10% commission from any booking. Payment is made through the site. Triip.me "directly screens" the tour guides and also has a two-way rating system, so travellers can rate the tour while the guide can also rate the traveller.
It is tapping into the desire for authentic travel experiences.
Vietnam is where the majority of its experts and experiences are based, although it is building up its inventory across Asia and wants to become a global rather than regional player.
Thomas Tsao, managing partner at Gobi, is also looking beyond Asia. “By bringing together local travel enthusiasts with adventurers from around the world, we believe that Triip is bound for great things ahead,” he said.
Triip.me is Gobi's first investment in Vietnam. It does have a few travel plays in its portfolio, including Chinese outbound package tours specialist Tuniu.com, Indonesian package tours and activities platform Tripvisto and Hong Kong-based travel video app Spottly.
Related reading from TnoozTuniu backer leads $1 million raise for Tripvisto (Nov 2015)
Tuniu.com looks to M&A after $500 million injection (May 2015)
Spottly raises seed round for video-based social travel app (September 2014)