Berlin-based startup Gidsy just took a big leap forward with a new release allowing its online marketplace for experiences to be used worldwide.
The new release, named “Columbus“, went live last night. Previously, Gidsy’s expansion relied on having at least three event organisers active in a city, allowing it to expand to 13 cities from Istanbul to Los Angeles. Now anyone, anywhere, can host events on the platform, whether they live in a “booming metropolis or a charming village”.
With so much more potential content to manage, Columbus includes an amped up search function, now allowing people to find things to do by location, dates, prices, group sizes and keywords. There’s a new messaging function so organisers and participants can keep in touch before and after events, and users can also see who else is booking which event, part of steps to make Gidsy more social for its community of users.
Organisers get new tools to help them manage bookings more effectively, including the ability to request events from organizers, export receipts, book and be paid for events in their home currency and export upcoming events to a personal calendar.
Gidsy’s community of users is its core asset – the talented hosts who run nature hikes or graffiti and vintage bike tours of Berlin, host cooking workshops or teach you how to make sock monkeys while sitting in a New York park.
The challenge with the global expansion will be to foster strong communities in different countries and keep event hosts happy and active. Gidsy doesn’t have regional offices yet. Instead, the Gidsy Explorer programme encourages people to become ambassadors, which has allowed it to build up some presence in 60 countries already. All events must still be approved by the team in Berlin.
Gidsy isn’t not just for fun-lovers and thrill-seekers; it’s a valuable source of income for hosts (Gidsy charges a 10 per cent fee for successful bookings). Some activity hosts are professionals who also list events elsewhere. For others, with great skills and knowledge to share but no business experience, it’s a friendly way to get started. “Some people are really making a living out of Gidsy, using Gidsy in a very different way than we anticipated in the beginning,” Gidsy CEO Edial Dekker told VentureVillage recently.
Edial Dekker, Floris Dekker and Philipp Wassibauer founded Gidsy in Berlin in May 2011 and went live with the platform in November. In January 2012, Gidsy raised $1.2 million from investors including Sunstone Capital, Index Ventures, Werner Vogels (of Amazon), Peter Read (UK) and celebrity tech investor Ashton Kutcher. Other investors in the platform include Etsy’s European director Matt Stinchcomb.
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