Headout, a last minute mobile marketplace for tours, activities and experiences has raised a seed round of $1.8M from US based Version One Ventures, 500 Startups, Nexus Venture Partners and Arena Ventures. The round also saw participation from Angellist’s Maiden Lane Ventures, Funders Club, Haystack Fund, Ludlow Ventures, Dreamit Ventures and other angels including Rick Marini (advisor to Facebook), Fabrice Grinda (OLX), Kunal Bahl & Rohit Bansal (Snapdeal) and Neeraj Arora (Whatsapp).
Headout started as Tourlandish from Bangalore with US as the target market. Founded by Varun Khona, Vikramjit Singh and Suren Sultania, Headout was part of 500 Startups and it was during this phase when the app got its current shape. Headout is currently live in New York and Las Vegas and the funds will be used to fuel rapid expansion in 12 cities across the US by the year end and aggressively growing the team in their New York, San Francisco & Bangalore offices.
In essence, Headout is an on-demand mobile concierge that helps travelers discover & book tours, activities, events & local experiences in town for the next 24 hours. Think of it as the Uber for tours & travel experiences. The US headquartered company has seen impressive growth since their July 2014 launch in New York, serving thousands of guests from over 65 countries and are poised to grow 10x in 2015.
The funds raised will be used to embark on an accelerated expansion drive launching in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Miami amongst other US cities in the next few months alone. Varun Khona, Co-founder and CEO of Headout says, “Our mission at Headout is to be the go-to app whenever you find yourself in a new city – be it New York, Paris, Cape Town or Beijing. This round of funding is a step in that direction to make Headout an ubiquitous brand that brings the best a city has to offer right now to a traveler right at their fingertips. We are incredibly humbled to be working with an amazing set of early stage investors and angels. We’re just getting started.”
Dave McClure, Founding Partner at 500 Startups says, “Headout is a kick-ass mobile marketplace for finding great on-demand tours & activities. Especially for folks like me who don’t always plan ahead, it’s an easy way to find amazing places to visit and fun stuff to do. The team also hustles almost as hard as I do… well, maybe even a little harder.”
Headout is an interesting case of Indian entrepreneurs coming up with an B2C travel app in the US. To an extent, this has been plausible because of the co-founding team’s experience when living in the US. There are many efforts being made in a similar space in India as well- Tushky (also a 500 Startups portfolio) being one of them, Trekurious is another which is a Sri Lankan company coming to India and ixigo also has come up with a few in destination focused apps.