Social travel site Gtrot – 18 months, close to $1M in funding, two pivots, now a gift service called Boomerang
Rather peculiar turn of events in the world of social travel media startups this week as Gtrot pivoted again to become a, err, gift sending service.
In an email to members, Gtrot announced it is now Boomerang (using Rang.com for its URL), “your holiday lifesaver”.
Just in time for the US Thanksgiving break this weekend, Boomerang lets users select and email gift coupons to those in their social networks.
Not a social trip planning tool in sight.
Boomerang taps in to existing retailers and gift favourites such as Barnes & Noble, Wine.com, etc, monitors when a friend or family member has a birthday coming up (by way of a Facebook app) and will then send them a personalised voucher.
Perhaps the “pivot” to end all pivots, then.
Gtrot started life as a social travel planning service in May 2011 and grabbed what was believed to be up to $1 million in funding from Lightbank a few weeks later.
Things hit an apparent high note in November 2011 when it won the Social Innovation Award at the annual PhoCusWright Conference.
Five months later and the first change in direction was announced, “moving away from the travel space and closer to local discovery”.
It said at the time:
“When we launched the current Gtrot in November [it was actually May 2011, but hey], we thought we built a travel planning product. Turns out we were wrong.
“Personalized recommendations for restaurants, nightlife, deals, events, and more are great for travel. But nearly half of your started exploring your home city, using this advice to plan your weekend or night out.
“So this month, we’re relaunching Gtrot to give users what you want: a platform for discovering your city, sharing your favorite things, and making plans with friends.”
A month later and founder and chief operating officer Brittany Laughlin (the public face of the company) was on her way training company InclineHQ.
Six months on, Gtrot is now Boomerang. The email shot to Gtrot members did not discuss the reason for the latest change in direction.
Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.