“As Lean junkies, we’ve been running SideTour for the last 6 months on the MVP we built over two weeks in Techstars last summer,” SideTour cofounder Mark Webster wrote in an email. SideTour, a marketplace for people who want to host activities—amateur tour guides, and the like—launched six months ago on a basic site hacked together with Eventbrite and WordPress. Since then, it’s raised $1.5 million, built the team up to nine, and took 100 feedback meetings with users, which all adds up to a redesigned, fuller-featured version which launched to all users today.
SideTour has more than 80 offerings in New York, the only city it’s available in, ranging from graffiti tours to tequila tastings. “We’re focused much more on quality than quantity, and that’s received a lot of awesome feedback from our users,” Mr Goyal said in an email. “Part of the amazing experience on SideTour is not having to sift through hundreds of experiences!”
Anyone can host a tour, with SideTour’s approval. Among the new features: A highly-requested reservation system that will let users request a special date, usually for a group activity. The new SideTour also tracks your “experiences,” as they’re called, and shows you the names of all the SideTourists who joined you. Users who went on the same tour together can message each other through SideTour. (SideTour added this because users were collecting each others’ email addresses in the “kumbaya” moment that follows a particularly moving experience.) And of course the team built their own reservation and alerts system to replace the WordPress/Eventbrite/Excel system employees had been using on the back end.
“It’s the next evolution of our product based on what we’ve learned over the last six months,” Mr. Goyal told Betabeat. “It’s definitely in the early innings here.”