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What monks, chefs, lugers, singers, graffiti artists and actors all have in common

There’s a wealth of experience and expertise around us every day. We probably don’t give most people we pass running around our respective busy cities a second look, but rushing by you are people with interesting expertise and experience. Artists and actors; olympic athletes and monks; sailors and graffiti artists.

SideTour looks to unlock this community and enable them to market and generate income off of their unique expertise. These experts – “hosts” in SideTour’s terminology – use the SideTour platform to advertise their experiences. SideTour helps them market these experiences and handles bookings, billing, refunds, etc. on their behalf. SideTour events are designed to be shared in groups – often people who haven’t met each other before the experience (although the platform does allow for group booking). And the entire experience ultimately becomes about the event, about the host and about the participants. The results so far have been fantastic.

Importantly, SideTour isn’t just a listing service for events, as some other companies pursuing similar models are. And SideTour heavily curates the experiences hosted on its site to ensure that they are both unique and that the hosts have true expertise. The variety of experience on SideTour really show the effect of this curation (and you thought I was kidding about luging and monks).

I met the SideTour team at the beginning of TechStars NYC and immediately loved what they were up to. And I love the story of four founders, friends and colleagues for over a decade, coming together to form a business (sounds like the Foundry story). They’ve made incredible progress over the summer at TechStars.

The company announced today a $1.5M seed financing led by Foundry and RRE (there’s a great write-up on TechCrunch here). This money will help the company further build out the functionality of the SideTour platform and begin expansion to markets beyond its launch market of New York City.

It’s great to have the chance to work with them!

October 17th, 2011     Categories: Foundry Companies, Uncategorized    
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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TPESQLI7U6G7TX6KPPFJQ3AFGA Seattle Dev

    SideTour is a fantastic concept!

    My only gripe with it is that it’s essentially a SkillShare.com clone with a new twist. The innovation is too incremental.

    It seems that these guys took SkillShare.com (they even copied SkillShare.com look & feel) and put a slightly different twist to an existing concept. The concept of learning from anyone is the same. The main difference is that instead of a classroom, the setting is now more “authentic” (kitchen, ski slope, etc).

    For my own benefit, I am certainly rooting for SideTour to succeed but I just kind of wish that these guys were a bit less afraid to innovate and make bold statements.

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      I do think there’s some similarity to SkillShare, although the concepts are at the moment pretty different (I see SkillShare wanting to move in our direction, not the other way around).

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