When J.R. Johnson sold his companies Virtual Tourist and OneTime to Expedia for ~$85 million, it came with a 3 year non-compete. He has served his time and he’s back with a new travel startup, Trippy.
“After the non-compete was over, we realised there hadn’t been a lot of innovation since the last time we were in the travel space,” Johnson told us.
Trippy is a social travel site. It’s a trip planner that connects to social networks and asks for venue suggestions from friends who have already traveled to the destination.
For example, if you’re hunting for a good Saturday night restaurant in Chicago, Trippy tells friends you’re in need and the discussion begins. Trippy takes a percentage of every booking and makes money via advertising.
“We’re starting to see people get real utility out of their social graph. Spotify has done an amazing job with this in music and we’re trying to do it with Trippy on the travel side,” says Johnson. “If you’re planning a trip, your friends can widdle down the hotel choices.”
Johnson used Trippy to help his friend Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg and Oink, plan a trip to Maui.
We asked if Trippy would expand beyond venues to flights and car rentals. Johnson replied, “We’re really focused on getting the social content part right; the rest of that stuff is a piece of cake.”