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Gidsy crowdsources expansion plans, gets Istanbul Written by Nina Fowler on 2. May 2012

Istanbul

Experience marketplace Gidsy may soon offer scuba diving in the Bosphorus or börek cooking lessons after users chose Istanbul, Turkey, as the next destination in its expansion plans.
Istanbul
Gidsy lets anyone host – and charge for – activities and is currently available in New York, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In March, Gidsy opened its Unlock Your City project, which lets users decide where Gidsy will launch next.
Istanbul is the first winner (to go live on May 7) with more cities lined up “very soon”, according to a statement this week. The threshold for selection is low: all that is needed are for at least three different organisers to offer at least five unique events in that city.

Paris, Instanbul, Seoul, Budapest…

Gidsy provides a free listing service, helps with marketing and cancellation costs, and handles bookings, transactions, refunds and customer support. In return, the company charges activity organisers a 10 per cent service fee for successful bookings.
The Unlock Your City campaign is prompting quite a bit of city pride from would-be users. Comments in the campaign’s forum range from “Paris, Paris, Paris, Paris” to this more considered pitch from Gidsy user Dennis W:
“Everybody just stop right there,” he wrote in March. “Like I have been saying for the past six months, Gidsy is going to launch first in Istanbul! Sultans and kings, Asia and Europe, Santa’s birthplace (Myra), the best food in the world, ancient ruins of long forgotten civilisations, sun sun and sun… Come on guys, it’s a three-hour flight. See you soon.”
Floris Dekker, Edial Dekker, Philipp Wassibauer
Edial Dekker, brother Floris and Philipp Wassibauer (pictured above) founded Gidsy in Berlin last year. The startup’s investors include Sunstone Capital, Index Ventures, Werner Vogels (of Amazon), Peter Read (UK) and celebrity tech investor Ashton Kutcher, with a recent funding round raising $1.4 million.
Other Berlin startups expanding into Turkey this year include mobile advertising platform Madvertise, which acquired Turkish market leader Mobilike earlier this month.
For related reading, check out:
Wait, Ashton Kutcher might actually be a smart investor
Gidsy teams up with Jamie Oliver
VIDEO – a Gidsy adventure (watch our talented features editor Elaine Jung go graffiti-touring, ice-skating and “powerbocking” with Gidsy in Berlin)